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                       BULFINCH'S MYTHOLOGY
                         THE AGE OF FABLE

                    Revised by Rev.E. E. Hale


Chapter I
Origin of Greeks and Romans.   The Aryan Family.   The Divinities
of these Nations.   Character of the Romans.   Greek notion of
the World.   Dawn, Sun, and Moon.   Jupiter and the gods of
Olympus.   Foreign gods.    Latin Names.-- Saturn or Kronos.
Titans.   Juno, Vulcan, Mars, Phoebus-Apollo, Venus, Cupid,
Minerva, Mercury, Ceres, Bacchus.   The Muses.   The Graces.
The Fates.   The Furies.   Pan.    The Satyrs.   Momus.   Plutus.
  Roman gods.

Chapter II
Roman Idea of Creation.   Golden Age.   Milky Way.   Parnassus.
The Deluge.   Deucalion and Pyrrha.   Pandora.   Prometheus.
Apollo and Daphne.   Pyramus and Thisbe.   Davy's Safety Lamp.
Cephalus and Procris

Chapter III
Juno.   Syrinx, or Pandean Pipes.   Argus's Eyes.   Io.
Callisto   Constellations of Great and Little Bear.   Pole-star.
  Diana.   Actaeon.   Latona.   Rustics turned to Frogs.   Isle
of Delos.   Phaeton.   Palace of the Sun.   Phoebus.   Day.
Month.   Year.   Hours.   Seasons.   Chariot of the sun.   People
of Aethiopia.   Libyan Desert.   The Wells Dry.   The Sea
Shrinks.   Phaeton's Tomb.   The Heliades

Chapter IV
Silenus.   Midas.   Bacchus's Reward to Midas.   River Pactolus.
  Pan Challenges Apollo.   Midas's Ears.   Gordian Knot.   Baucis
and Philemon.   Aetna.   Perpetual Spring.   Pluto carries off
Prosperine.   Cere's Search.   Prosperine's Release.   Eleusinian
Mysteries.   Glaucis changed to a Fish.   Scylla

Chapter V
Pygmalion's Statue.   Dryope and Iole.   Lotus Tree.   Venus and
Adonis.  Anemone or Wind Flower.   Apollo and Hyacinthus.   Game
of Quoits.   Flower Hyacinthus.   Ceyx and Halcyone.   Palace of
the King of Sleep.   Morpheus.   Halcyon Birds.

Chapter VI
Hamadryads.   Pomona.   Vertumnus.   Iphis.   Cupid and Psyche.
Zephyr.   Temple of Ceres.   Temple of Venus.   The Ant.   Golden
Fleece.   Pluto.   Cerberus.   Charon.   The Treasure.   Stygian
Sleep.   Cup of Ambrosia.   Birth of Pleasure.   Greek name of

Chapter VII
Cadmus.   Origin of City of Thebes.   Tyrians.   Serpent.
Dragon's Teeth.   Harmonia.   Serpent Sacred to Mars.  Myrmidons.
  Cephalus.   Aeacus.   Pestilence Sent by June.   Origin of

Chapter VIII
Minos, King of Crete.   Nisus, his purple hair.   Scylla's
Betrayal.   Her Punishment.   Echo.   Juno's Sentence.
Narcissus.   Love for his own image.   Clytie.   Hopeless Love
for Apollo.   Becomes a Flower.   Hero and Leander.   Hellespont

Chapter IX
Goddess of Wisdom.   Arachne.   Her Challenge with Minerva.
Minerva's Web.   Arachne's Web.   Transformation.   Niobe Queen
of Thebes.   Mount Cynthus.  Death of Niobe's Children.   Changed
to stone.   The Gray-haired Sisters.   The Gorgon Medusa.   Tower
of brass.   Danae.   Perseus.   Net of Dicte.   Minerva.   King
Atlas.   Andromeda.   Sea Monster.   Wedding Feast.   Enemies
Turned to Stone.

Chapter X
Attributes of Monsters.   Laius.   Oedipus.   The Oracle.
Sphinx.   The Riddle.   Oedipus made King.   Jocasta.   Origin of
Pegasus.   Fountain of Hippocrene.   The Chimaera.
Bellerophontic Letters.   The Centaurs.   The Pygmies.
Description of the Griffin.   The Native Country.   One-Eyed

Chapter XI
The Ram with the Golden Fleece.   The Hellespont.   Jason's
Quest.   Sowing the Dragon's Teeth.   Jason's Father.
Incantations of Medea.   Ancient Name of Greece.   Great
Gatherings of the Greeks.   Wild Boar.   Atalanta's Race.   Three
Golden Apples.   Lovers' Ingratitude.   Venus's Revenge.

Chapter XII
Labors of Hercules.-- Fight with Nemean Lion.-- Slaughter of the
Hydra.  Cleaning the Augean Stables.-- Girdle of the Queen of the
Amazons.-- Oxen of Geryon.-- Golden Apples of Hesperides.--
Victory over Antaeus.-- Cacus Slain.-- Hercules, Descent into
Hades.-- He Becomes the Slave of Omphale.-- Dejanira's Charm.--
Death of Hercules.-- Hebe, Goddess of Youth

Chapter XIII
Theseus Moves the Fated Stone, and Proceeds to Athens.--
Procrustes's Bedstead.-- Tribute to Minos.-- Ariadne.-- Clew of
Thread.-- Encounter with the Minotaur.-- Theseus Becomes King of
Athens.-- Friendship of Theseus and Pirithous.  The Theseum.--
Festival of Panathenaea.-- Elgin Marbles.-- National Greek
Games.-- The Labyrinth.-- Daedalus' Wings.-- Invention of the
Saw.-- Castor and Pollux.-- Argonautic Expedition.-- Orpheus's
Harp.-- Gemini

Chapter XIV
Destruction of Semele.-- Infancy of Bacchus.-- March of Bacchus.-
- One of the Bacchanals taken Prisoner.-- Pentheus.-- Worship of
Bacchus Established in Greece.-- Ariadne.-- Bacchus's Marriage.--
Ariadne's Crown

Chapter XV
Pan.-- Shepherd's Pipe.-- Panic Terror.-- Signification of the
Name Pan.-- Latin Divinities.-- Wood Nymphs.-- Water Nymphs.--
Sea Nymphs.  Pleasing Traits of Old Paganism.-- Mrs. Browning's
Poem.-- Violation of Cere's Grove.-- Erisichthon's Punishment.--
Rhoecus.-- Water Deities.-- Neptune's Symbol of Power.-- Latin
Name for the Muses, and other Deities.-- Personification of the
Winds.   The Harpies.-- Worship of Fortuna

Chapter XVI
Transformation of Achelous.-- Origin of the Cornucopia.-- Ancient
Meaning of fight of Achelous with Hercules.-- Aesculapius.-- The
Cyclops.   Antigone.-- Expedition of the "Seven against Thebes."-
- Antigone's Sisterly Devotion.-- Antigone's Burial.-- Penelope.-
- Statue to Modesty.-- Ulysses.-- Penelope's suitors.--
Penelope's Web

Chapter XVII
Orpheus's Lyre.-- Unhappy Prognostics at Orpheus's Marriage.--
Eurydice's Death.-- Orpheus Descends to the Stygian Realm.--
Orpheus Loses Eurydice Forever.-- Thracian Maidens.-- Honey.--
Aristaeus's Loss and Complaint.-- Cyrene's Apartments.-- Proteus
Captured.-- His Directions to Orpheus.-- Swarm of Bees.--
Celebrated Mythical Poets and Musicians.-- First Mortal Endowed
with Prophetic Powers

Chapter XVIII
Adventures of Real Persons.-- Arion, Famous Musician.--
Description of Ancient Theatres.-- Murder of Ibycus.-- Chorus
Personating the Furies.-- Cranes of Ibycus.-- The Murderers
Seized.-- Simonides.-- Scopa's Jest.   Simonides's Escape.--
Sappho.-- "Lover's Leap"

Chapter XIX
Endymion.-- Mount Latmos. Gift of Perpetual Youth and Perpetual
Sleep.-- Orion.-- Kedalion.-- Orion's Girdle.-- The Fatal Shot
The Pleiads.-- Aurora.-- Memnon.-- statue of Memnon.-- Scylla.--
Acis and Galatea.-- River Acis

Chapter XX
Minerva's Competition.-- Paris's Decision.-- Helen.-- Paris's
Elopement.-- Ulysses's Pretence.-- The Apple of Discord.-- Priam,
King of Troy.-- Commander of Grecian Armament.-- Principal
Leaders of the Trojans.-- Agamemnon Kills the Sacred Stag.--
Iphigenia.-- The Trojan War.-- The Iliad.-- Interest of Dods and
Goddesses in the War.-- Achilles's Suit of Armor.-- Death of
Hector.-- Ransom Sent to Achilles.-- Achilles Grants Priam's
Request.-- Hector's Funeral Solemnities.

Chapter XXI
Achilles Captivated by Polyxena.-- Achilles' Claim.-- Bestowal of
Achilles' Armor.-- The Hyacinth.-- Arrows of Hercules.-- Death of
Paris.-- Celebrated Statue of Minerva.-- Wooden Horse.-- Greeks
Pretend to Abandon the Siege.-- Sea Serpents.-- Laocoon.-- Troy
subdued.-- Helen and Menelaus.-- Nepenthe.-- Agamemnon's
Misfortunes.-- Orestes.-- Electra.-- Site of the City of Troy

Chapter XXII
The Odyssey.-- The Wanderings of Ulysses.-- Country of the
Cyclops.-- The Island of Aeolus.-- The Barbarous Tribe of
Laestrygonians.-- Circe.-- The Sirens.-- Scylla and Charybdis.--
Cattle of Hyperion.-- Ulysses's Raft.-- Calypso Entertains
Ulysses.-- Telemachus and Mentor Escape from Calypso's Isle

Chapter XXIII
Ulysses Abandons the Raft.-- The Country of the Phaeacians.--
Nausicaa's Dream.-- A Game of Ball.-- Ulysses's Dilemma.--
Nausicaa's Courage.-- The Palace of Alcinous.-- Skill of the
Phaeacian Women.-- Hospitality to Ulysses.-- Demodocus, the Blind
Bard.-- Gifts to Ulysses

Chapter XXV
Virgil's Description of the Region of the Dead.-- Descend into
Hades.-- The Black River and Ferryman.-- Cape Palinurus.-- The
Three-Headed Dog.-- Regions of Sadness.-- Shades of Grecian and
Trojan Warriors.-- Judgment Hall of Rhadamanthus.-- The Elysian
Fields.-- Aeneas Meets His Father.-- Anchises Explains the Plan
of Creation.-- Transmigration of Souls.-- Egyptian Name of
Hades.-- Location of Elysium.-- Prophetic Power of the Sibyl.--
Legend of the Nine Books

Stories of Gods and Heroes.

Chapter I


The literature of our time, as of all the centuries of
Christendom, is full of allusions to the gods and goddesses of
the Greeks and Romans.  Occasionally, and, in modern days, more
often, it contains allusions to the worship and the superstitions
of the northern nations of Europe.  The object of this book is to
teach readers who are not yet familiar with the writers of Greece
and Rome, or the ballads or legends of the Scandinavians, enough
of the stories which form what is called their mythology, to make
those allusions intelligible which one meets every day, even in
the authors of our own time.

The Greeks and Romans both belong to the same race or stock.  It
is generally known in our time as the Aryan family of mankind;
and so far as we know its history, the Greeks and Romans
descended from the tribes which emigrated from the high table-
lands of Northern India.  Other tribes emigrated in different
directions from the same centre, so that traces of the Aryan
language are found in the islands of the Pacific ocean.

The people of this race, who moved westward, seem to have had a
special fondness for open air nature, and a willingness to
personify the powers of nature.  They were glad to live in the
open air, and they specially encouraged the virtues which an
open-air people prize.  Thus no Roman was thought manly who could
not swim, and every Greek exercised in the athletic sports of the

The Romans and Grecian and German divisions of this great race
are those with which we have most to do in history and in
literature.  Our own English language is made up of the dialects
of different tribes, many of whom agreed in their use of words
which they had derived from our Aryan ancestry.  Thus our
substantive verb I AM appears in the original Sanscrit of the
Aryans as ESMI, and m for ME (MOI), or the first person singular,
is found in all the verbal inflections.  The Greek form of the
same verb was ESMI, which became ASMI,   and in Latin the first
and last vowels have disappeared, the verb is SUM.  Similar
relationships are traced in the numerals, and throughout all the
languages of these nations.

The Romans, like the Etruscans who came before them, were neither
poetical nor imaginative in temperament.  Their activity ran in
practical directions.  They therefore invented few, if any
stories, of the gods whom they worshipped with fixed rites.  Mr.
Macaulay speaks of these gods as "the sober abstractions of the
Roman pantheon."  We owe most of the stories of the ancient
mythology to the wit and fancy of the Greeks,   more playful and
imaginative,   who seized from Egypt and from the East such
legends as pleased them,   and adapted them in their own way.  It
often happens that such stories, resembling each other in their
foundation, are found in the Greek and Roman authors in several
different forms.

To understand these stories, we will here first acquaint
ourselves with the ideas of the structure of the universe, which
the poets and others held, and which will form the scenery, so to
speak, of the narratives.

The Greek poets believed the earth to be flat and circular, their
own country occupying the middle of it, the central point being
either Mount Olympus, the abode of the gods, or Delphi, so famous
for its oracle.

The circular disk of the earth was crossed from west to east, and
divided into two equal parts by the SEA, as they called the
Mediterranean, and its continuation the Euxine.

Around the earth flowed the RIVER OCEAN, its course being from
south to north on the western side of the earth, and in a
contrary direction on the eastern side.  It flowed in a steady,
equable current, unvexed by storm or tempest.  The sea, and all
the rivers on earth, received their waters from it.

The northern portion of the earth was supposed to be inhabited by
a happy race named the Hyperboreans [this word means "who live
beyond the north" from the word "hyper," beyond, and boreas, the
north wind], dwelling in everlasting bliss and spring beyond the
lofty mountains whose caverns were supposed to send forth the
piercing blasts of the north wind, which chilled the people of
Hellas (Greece).  Their country was inaccessible by land or sea.
They lived exempt from disease or old age, from toils and
warfare.  Moore has given us the "Song of a Hyperborean,"

"I come from a land in the sun-bright deep,
Where golden gardens glow,
Where the winds of the north, becalmed in sleep,
Their conch-shells never blow."

On the south side of the earth, close to the stream of Ocean,
dwelt a people happy and virtuous as the Hyperboreans.  They were
named the AEthiopians.  The gods favored them so highly that they
were wont to leave at times their Olympian abodes, and go to
share their sacrifices and banquets.

On the western margin of the earth, by the stream of Ocean, lay a
happy place named the Elysian Plain, whither mortals favored by
the gods were transported without tasting of death, to enjoy an
immortality of bliss.  This happy region was also called the
"fortunate fields," and the "Isles of the Blessed."

We thus see that the Greeks of the early ages knew little of any
real people except those to the east and south of their own
country, or near the coast of the Mediterranean.  Their
imagination meantime peopled the western portion of this sea with
giants, monsters, and enchantresses; while they placed around the
disk of the earth, which they probably regarded as of no great
width, nations enjoying the peculiar favor of the gods, and
blessed with happiness and longevity.

The Dawn, the Sun, and the Moon were supposed to rise out of the
Ocean, on the western side, and to drive through the air, giving
light to gods and men.  The stars also, except those forming
Charles' Wain or Bear, and others near them, rose out of and sank
into the stream of Ocean.  There the sun-god embarked in a winged
boat, which conveyed him round by the northern part of the earth,
back to his place of rising in the east.  Milton alludes to this
in his "Commmus."

"Now the gilded car of day
His golden axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream,
And the slope sun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky pole,
Pacing towards the other goal
Of his chamber in the east."

The abode of the gods was on the summit of Mount Olympus, in
Thessaly.  A gate of clouds, kept by the goddesses named the
Seasons, opened to permit the passage of the Celestials to earth,
and to receive them on their return.  The gods had their separate
dwellings; but all, when summoned, repaired to the palace of
Jupiter [Or Zeus.  The relation of these names to each other will
be explained on the next page], as did also those deities whose
usual abode was the earth, the waters, or the underworld.  It was
also in the great hall of the palace of the Olympian king that
the gods feasted each day on ambrosia and nectar, their food and
drink, the latter being handed round by the lovely goddess Hebe.
Here they conversed of the affairs of heaven and earth; and as
they quaffed their nectar, Apollo, the god of music, delighted
them with the tones of his lyre, to which the muses sang in
responsive strains.  When the sun was set, the gods retired to
sleep in their respective dwellings.

The following lines from the Odyssey will show how Homer
conceived of Olympus:--

"So saying, Minerva, goddess azure-eyed,
Rose to Olympus, the reputed seat
Eternal of the gods, which never storms
Disturb, rains drench, or snow invades, but calm
The expanse and cloudless shines with purest day.
There the inhabitants divine rejoice
Forever.:" Cowper

Such were the abodes of the gods as the Greeks conceived them.
The Romans, before they knew the Greek poetry, seem to have had
no definite imagination of such an assembly of gods.  But the
Roman and Etruscan races were by no means irreligious.  They
venerated their departed ancestors,   and in each family the
worship of these ancestors was an important duty.  The images of
the ancestors were kept in a sacred place,   each family
observed, at fixed times, memorial rites in their honor,   and
for these and other religious observances the family hearth was
consecrated.  The earliest rites of Roman worship are supposed to
be connected with such family devotions.

As the Greeks and Romans became acquainted with other nations,
they imported their habits of worship, even in early times.  It
will be remembered that as late as St. Paul's time, he found an
altar at Athens "to an unknown god."  Greeks and Romans alike
were willing to receive from other nations the legends regarding
their gods, and to incorporate them as well as they could with
their own.  It is thus that in the poetical mythology of those
nations, which we are now to study, we frequently find a Latin
and a Greek name for one imagined divinity.  Thus Zeus, of the
Greeks, becomes in Latin   with the addition of the word pater (a
father) [The reader will observe that father is one of the words
derived from an Ayan root.  Let p and t become rough, as the
grammarians say,   let p become ph, and t th, and you have
phather or father], Jupiter   Kronos of the Greeks appears as
"Vulcanus" of the Latins, "Ares" of the Greeks is "Mars" or
Mavors of the Latins, "Poseidon" of the Greeks is "Neptunus" of
the Latins, "Aphrodite" of the Greeks is "Venus" of the Latins.
This variation is not to be confounded with a mere translation,
as where "Paulos" of the Greek becomes "Paulus" in Latin, or
"Odysseus" becomes "Ulysses,"   or as when "Pierre" of the French
becomes "Peter" in English.  What really happened was, that as
the Romans, more cultivated than their fathers, found in Greek
literature a god of fire and smithery,   they transferred his
name "Hephaistos" to their own old god "Vulcanus,"   who had the
same duties,   and in their after literature the Latin name was
used for the stories of Greek and Latin origin.

As the English literature came into being largely on French and
Latin models, and as French is but a degraded Latin and retains
Latin roots largely,   in our older English poets the Latin forms
of these names are generally used.  In our own generation, with
the precision now so much courted, a fashion has come in, of
designating Mars by his Greek name of "Ares," Venus by her name
of "Aphrodite," and so on.  But in this book, as our object is to
make familiar the stores of general English literature which
refer to such subjects, we shall retain, in general, the Latin
names,   only calling the attention of the reader to the Greek
names, as they appear in Greek authors,   and in many writers of
the more recent English schools.

The real monarch of the heavens in the mythology of both Greece
and Rome is Jupiter (Zeus-pater, father-Jove) [Jove appears to be
a word derived from the same root as Zeus, and it appears in the
root dev of the Sanscrit, where devas are gods of different
forms.  Our English word devil probably comes from the French
diable, Italian diavolo, Latin diabolus, one who makes division,-
- literally one who separates balls, or throws balls about,--
instead of throwing them frankly and truly at the batsman.  It is
not to be traced to the Sanscrit deva.]

In the mythological system we are tracing Zeus is himself the
father of many of the gods, and he is often spoken of as father
of gods and men.  He is the father of Vulcan [In Greek
Hephaistos], of Venus [in Greek Aphrodite], of Minerva [in Greek
Pallas Athene, or either name separately], of Apollo [of
Phoebus], Diana [in Greek Artemis], and of Mercury [in Greek
Hermes], who are ranked among the twelve superior gods, and of
many inferior deities.  But Jupiter himself is not the original
deity in these systems.  He is the son of Saturnus, as in the
Greek Zeus is the son of Kronos.  Still the inevitable question
would occur where did Saturnus or Kronos come from.  And, in
forms and statements more and more vague, the answer was that he
was born from Uranus or Ouranos, which is the name of the Heaven
over all which seemed to embrace all things.  The Greek name of
Saturn was spelled Kronos.  The Greek name of Time was spelled
Chronos.  A similarity between the two was imagined.  And the
whole statement, when reduced to rationalistic language, would be
that from Uranus, the infinite, was born Chronos, Time,-- that
from Time, Zeus or Jupiter was born, and that he is the only
child of Time who has complete sway over mortals and immortals.

"The will of Jove I own,
Who mortals and immortals rules alone."
Homer, II.xii

Jupiter was son of Saturn (Kronos) [The names included in
parentheses are the Greek, the others being the Roman or Latin
names] and Ops (Rhea in Greek, sometimes confounded with the
Phrygian Cybele).

Saturn and Rhea were of the race of Titans, who were the children
of Earth and Heaven, which sprang from Chaos, of which we shall
give a further account in our next chapter.

In allusion to the dethronement of Ouranos by Kronos, and of
Kronos or Saturnus by Zeus or Jupiter, Prometheus says in
AEschylus's tragedy,--

"You may deem
Its towers impregnable; but have I not
already seen two monarchs hurled from them."

Thee is another cosmogony, or account of the creation, according
to which Earth, Erebus, and Love were the first of beings.  Love
(Eros)_ issued from the egg of Night, which floated on Chaos.  By
his arrows and torch he pierced and vivified all things,
producing life and joy.

Saturn and Rhea were not the only Titans.  There were others,
whose names were Oceanus, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Ophion, males;
and Themis, Mnemosyne, Eurynome, females.  They are spoken of as
the elder gods, whose dominion was afterwards transferred to
others.  Saturn yielded to Jupiter, Oceanus to Neptune, Hyperion
to Apollo.  Hyperion was the father of the Sun, Moon, and Dawn.
He is therefore the original sun-god, and is painted with the
splendor and beauty which were afterwards bestowed on Apollo.

"Hyperion's curls, the front of Jove himself."   Shakespeare

Ophion and Eurynome ruled over Olympus till they were dethroned
by Saturn and Rhea.  Milton alludes to them in Paradise Lost.  He
says the heathen seem to have had some knowledge of the
temptation and fall of man,--

"And fabled how the serpent, whom they called
Ophion, with Eurynome (the wide-
Encroaching Eve perhaps), had first the rule
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven."

The representations given of Saturn are not very consistent, for
on the one hand his reign is said to have been the golden age of
innocence and purity, and on the other he is described as a
monster who devoured his own children [This inconsistency arises
from considering the Saturn of the Romans the same with the
Grecian deity Chronos (Time), which, as it brings an end to all
things which have had a beginning, may be said to devour its own
offspring.] Jupiter, however, escaped this fate, and when grown
up espoused Metis (Prudence), who administered a draught to
Saturn which caused him to disgorge his children.  Jupiter, with
his brothers and sisters, now rebelled against their father
Saturn, and his brothers the Titans; vanquished them, and
imprisoned some of them in Tartarus, inflicting other penalties
on others.  Atlas was condemned to bear up the heavens on his

On the dethronement of Saturn, Jupiter with his brothers Neptune
(Poseidon) and Pluto (Dis) divided his dominions.  Jupiter's
portion was the heavens, Neptune's the ocean, and Pluto's the
realms of the dead.  Earth and Olympus were common property.
Jupiter was king of gods and men.  The thunder was his weapon,
and he bore a shield called AEgis, made for him by Vulcan.  The
eagle was his favorite bird, and bore his thunderbolts.

Juno (Hera)[pronounce He-re, in two syllables] was the wife of
Jupiter, and queen of the gods.  Iris, the goddess of the
rainbow, was her attendant and messenger.  The peacock was her
favorite bird.

Vulcan (Hephaistos), the celestial artist, was the son of Jupiter
and Juno.  He was born lame, and his mother was so displeased at
the sight of him that she flung him out of heaven.  Other
accounts say that Jupiter kicked him out for taking part with his
mother, in a quarrel which occurred between them.  Vulcan's
lameness, according to this account, was the consequence of his
fall.  He was a whole day falling, and at last alighted in the
island of Lemnos, which was thenceforth sacred to him.  Milton
alludes to this story in Paradise lost, Book I.

"From morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropped from the zenith, like a falling star,
On Lemnos, the AEgean isle."

Mars (Ares), the god of war, was the son of Jupiter and Juno.
Phoebus Apollo [this is a Greek name of a Greek divinity, who
seems to have had no Roman resemblance], the god of archery,
prophecy, and music, was the son of Jupiter and Latona, and
brother of Diana (Artemis).  He was god of the sun, as Diana, his
sister, was the goddess of the moon.

Venus (Aphrodite), the goddess of love and beauty, was the
daughter of Jupiter and Dione.  Others say that Venus sprang from
the foam of the sea.  The zephyr wafted her along the waves to
the Isle of Cyprus, where she was received and attired by the
Seasons, and then led to the assembly of the gods.  All were
charmed with her beauty, and each one demanded her for his wife.
Jupiter gave her to Vulcan, in gratitude for the service he had
rendered in forging thunderbolts.  So the most beautiful of the
goddesses became the wife of the most ill-favored of the gods.
Venus possessed an embroidered girdle called the Cestus, which
had the power of inspiring love.  Her favorite birds were swans
and doves, and the plants sacred to her were the rose and the

Cupid (Eros), the god of love, was the son of Venus.  He was her
constant companion; and, armed with bow and arrows, he shot the
darts of desire into the bosoms of both gods and men.  There was
a deity named Anteros, who was sometimes represented as the
avenger of slighted love, and sometimes as the symbol of
reciprocal affection.  The following legend is told of him:--

Venus, complaining to Themis that her son Eros continued always a
child, was told by her that it was because he was solitary, and
that if he had a brother he would grow apace.  Anteros was soon
afterwards born, and Eros immediately was seen to increase
rapidly in size and strength.

Minerva (Pallas Athene), the goddess of wisdom, was the offspring
of Jupiter, without a mother.  She sprang from his head,
completely armed.  Her favorite bird was the owl, and the plant
sacred to her the olive.

Byron, in "Childe Harold," alludes to the birth of Minerva thus:-

"Can tyrants but by tyrants conquered be,
And freedom find no champion and no child,
Such as Columbia saw arise, when she
Sprang forth a Pallas, armed and undefiled?
Or must such minds be nourished in the wild,
Deep in the unpruned forest, 'midst the roar
Of Cataracts, where nursing Nature smiled
On infant Washington?  Has earth no more
Such seeds within her breast, or Europe no such shore?"

Mercury (Hermes), was the son of Jupiter and Maia.  He presided
over commerce, wrestling and other gymnastic exercises; even over
thieving, and everything, in short, which required skill and
dexterity.  He was the messenger of Jupiter, and wore a winged
cap and winged shoes.  He bore in his hand a rod entwined with
two serpents, called the Caduceus.

Mercury is said to have invented the lyre.  Four hours after his
birth he found the shell of a tortoise, made holes in the
opposite edges of it, and drew cords of linen through them, and
the instrument was complete [From this origin of the instrument,
the word "shell" is often used as synonymous with :"lyre," and
figuratively for music and poetry.  Thus Gray, in his ode on the
"Progress of Poesy," says,-- "O Sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs, Enchanting shell! The
sullen Cares And Frantic Passions hear thy soft control."] The
cords were nine, in honor of the nine Muses.  Mercury gave the
lyre to Apollo, and received from him in exchange the caduceus.

Ceres (Demeter) was the daughter of Saturn and Rhea.  She had a
daughter named Proserpine (Persephone), who became the wife of
Pluto, and queen of the realms of the dead.  Ceres presided over

Bacchus (Dionysus)_, the god of wine, was the son of Jupiter and
Semele.  He represents not only the intoxicating power of wine,
but its social and beneficent influences likewise; so that he is
viewed as the promoter of civilization, and a lawgiver and lover
of peace.

The muses were the daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne (Memory).
They presided over song, and prompted the memory.  They were nine
in number, to each of whom was assigned the presidency over some
particular department of literature, art, or science.  Calliope
was the muse of epic poetry, Clio of history, Euterpe of lyric
poetry, Melpomene of tragedy, Terpischore of choral dance and
song, Erato of love-poetry, Polyhymnia of sacred poetry, Urania
of astronomy, Thalia [Pronounced Tha-lei-a, with the emphasis on
the second syllable] of comedy.

Spenser described the office of the Graces thus:--

"These three on men all gracious gifts bestow
Which deck the body or adorn the mind,
To make them lovely or well-favored show;
As comely carriage, entertainment kind,
Sweet semblance, friendly offices that bind,
And all the compliments of courtesy;
They teach us how to each degree and kind
We should ourselves demean, to low, to high.
To friends, to foes; which skill men call Civility."

The Fates were also three   Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.  Their
office was to spin the thread of human destiny, and they were
armed with shears, with which they cut it off when they pleased.
They were the daughters of Themis (Law), who sits by Jove on his
throne to give him counsel.

The Erinnyes, or Furies, were three goddesses who punished crimes
by their secret stings.  The heads of the Furies were wreathed
with serpents, and their whole appearance was terrific and
appalling.  Their names were Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera.
They were also called Eumenides.

Nemesis was also an avenging goddess.  She represents the
righteous anger of the gods, particularly towards the proud and

Pan [the name Pan means everything, and he is sometimes spoken of
as the god of all nature] was the god of flocks and shepherds.
His favorite residence, as the Greeks describe him, was in

The Satyrs were deities of the woods and fields.  They were
conceived to be covered with bristly hair, their heads decorated
with short, sprouting horns, and their feet like goats' feet.

Momus was the god of laughter, and Plutus the god of wealth.


The preceding are Grecian divinities, though received also by the
Romans.  Those which follow are peculiar to Roman mythology.

Saturn was an ancient Italian deity.  The Roman poets tried to
identify him with the Grecian god Kronos, and fabled that after
his dethronement by Jupiter, he fled to Italy, where he reigned
during what was called the Golden Age.  In memory of his
beneficent dominion, the feast of Saturnalia was held every year
in the winter season.  Then all public business was suspended,
declarations of war and criminal executions were postponed,
friends made presents to one another, and the slaves were
indulged with great liberties.  A feast was given them at which
they sat at table, while their masters served them, to show the
natural equality of men, and that all things belonged equally to
all, in the reign of Saturn.

Faunus [there was also a goddess called Fauna, or Bona Dea], the
grandson of Saturn, was worshipped as the god of fields and
shepherds, and also as a prophetic god.  His name in the plural,
Fauns, expressed a class of gamesome deities, like the Satyrs of
the Greeks.

Quirinus was a war god, said to be no other than Romulus the
founder of Rome, exalted after his death to a place among the

Bellona, a war goddess.

Terminus, the god of landmarks.  His statue was a rude stone or
post, set in the ground to mark the boundaries of fields.

Pales, the goddess presiding over cattle and pastures.

Pomona presided over fruit trees.

Flora, the goddess of flowers.

Lucina, the goddess of childbirth.

Vesta (the Hestia of the Greeks) was a deity presiding over the
public and private hearth.  A sacred fire, tended by six virgin
priestesses called Vestals, flamed in her temple.  As the safety
of the city was held to be connected with its conservation, the
neglect of the virgins, if they let it go out, was severely
punished, and the fire was rekindled from the rays of the sun.

Liber is another Latin name of Bacchus; and Mulciber of Vulcan.

Janus was the porter of heaven.  He opens the year, the first
month being named after him.  He is the guardian deity of gates,
on which account he is commonly represented with two heads,
because every door looks two ways.  His temples at Rome were
numerous.  In war time the gates of the principal one were always
open.  In peace they were closed; but they were shut only once
between the reign of Numa and that of Augustus.

The Penates were the gods who were supposed to attend to the
welfare and prosperity of the family.  Their name is derived from
Penus, the pantry, which was sacred to them.  Every master of a
family was the priest to the Penates of his own house.

The Lares, or Lars, were also household gods, but differed from
the Penates in being regarded as the deified spirits of mortals.
The family Lars were held to be the souls of the ancestors, who
watched over and protected their descendants.  The words Lemur
and Larva more nearly correspond to our word Ghost.

The Romans believed that every man had his Genius, and every
woman her Juno; that is, a spirit who had given them being, and
was regarded as a protector through life.  On birthdays men made
offerings to their Genius, women to their Juno.

Macaulay thus alludes to some of the Roman gods:--

"Pomona loves the orchard,
And Liber loves the vine,
And Pales loves the straw-built shed
Warm with the breath of kine;
And Venus loves the whisper
Of plighted youth and maid
In April's ivory moonlight,
Beneath the Chestnut shade."
"Prophecy of Capys."

N.B.  It is to be observed that in proper names the final e and
es are to be sounded.  Thus Cybele and Penates are words of three
syllables.   But Proserpine and Thebes have been so long used as
English words, that they may be regarded as exceptions, to be
pronounced as if English.  Hecate is sometimes pronounced by the
poets as a dissylable.  In the Index at the close of the volume,
we shall mark the accented syllable, in all words which appear to
require it.

Prometheus and Pandora

The Roman poet Ovid gives us a connected narrative of creation.
Before the earth and sea and the all-covering heaven, one aspect,
which we call Chaos, covered all the face of Nature,-- a rough
heap of inert weight and discordant beginnings of things clashing
together.  As yet no sun gave light to the world, nor did the
moon renew her slender horn month by month,-- neither did the
earth hang in the surrounding air, poised by its own weight,--
nor did the sea stretch its long arms around the earth.  Wherever
there was earth, there was also sea and air.  So the earth was
not solid nor was the water fluid, neither was the air

God and Nature at last interposed and put an end to this discord,
separating earth from sea, and heaven from both.  The fiery part,
being the lightest, sprang up, and formed the skies; the air was
next in weight and place.  The earth, being heavier, sank below,
and the water took the lowest place and buoyed up the earth.

Here some god, no man knows who, arranged and divided the land.
He placed the rivers and bays, raised mountains and dug out
valleys and distributed woods, fountains, fertile fields and
stony plains.  Now that the air was clear the stars shone out,
the fishes swam the sea and birds flew in the air, while the
four-footed beasts roamed around the earth.  But a nobler animal
was needed, and man was made in the image of the gods with an
upright stature [The two Greek words for man have the root an,
"up], so that while all other animals turn their faces downward
and look to the earth, he raises his face to heaven and gazes on
the stars [Every reader will be interested in comparing this
narrative with that in the beginning of Genesis.  It seems clear
that so many Jews were in Rome in Ovid's days, many of whom were
people of consideration among those with whom he lived, that he
may have heard the account in the Hebrew Scriptures translated.
Compare JUDAISM by Prof. Frederic Huidekoper.]

To Prometheus the Titan and to his brother Epimetheus was
committed the task of making man and all other animals, and of
endowing them with all needful faculties.  This Epimetheus did,
and his brother overlooked the work.  Epimetheus then gave to the
different animals their several gifts of courage, strength,
swiftness and sagacity.  He gave wings to one, claws to another,
a shelly covering to the third.  Man, superior to all other
animals, came last.  But for man Epimetheus had nothing,-- he had
bestowed all his gifts elsewhere.  He came to his brother for
help, and Prometheus, with the aid of Minerva, went up to heaven,
lighted his torch at the chariot of the sun, and brought down
fire to man.  With this, man was more than equal to all other
animals.  Fire enabled him to make weapons to subdue wild beasts,
tools with which to till the earth.  With fire he warmed his
dwelling and bid defiance to the cold.

Woman was not yet made.  The story is, that Jupiter made her, and
sent her to Prometheus and his brother, to punish them for their
presumption in stealing fire from heaven; and man, for accepting
the gift.  The first woman was named Pandora.  She was made in
heaven, every god contributing something to perfect her.  Venus
gave her beauty, Mercury persuasion, Apollo music.  Thus
equipped, she was conveyed to earth, and presented to Epimetheus,
who gladly accepted her, though cautioned by his brother to
beware of Jupiter and his gifts.  Epimetheus had in his house a
jar, in which were kept certain noxious articles, for which, in
fitting man for his new abode, he had had no occasion.  Pandora
was seized with an eager curiosity to know what this jar
contained; and one day she slipped off the cover and looked in.
Forthwith there escaped a multitude of plagues for hapless man,--
such as gout, rheumatism, and colic for his body, and envy,
spite, and revenge for his mind,-- and scattered themselves far
and wide.  Pandora hastened to replace the lid; but, alas! The
whole contents of the jar had escaped, one thing only excepted,
which lay at the bottom, and that was HOPE.  So we see at this
day, whatever evils are abroad, hope never entirely leaves us;
and while we have THAT, no amount of other ills can make us
completely wretched.

Another story is, that Pandora was sent in good faith, by
Jupiter, to bless man; that she was furnished with a box,
containing her marriage presents, into which every god had put
some blessing.  She opened the box incautiously, and the
blessings all escaped, HOPE only excepted.  This story seems more
consistent than the former; for how could HOPE, so precious a
jewel as it is, have been kept in a jar full of all manner of

The world being thus furnished with inhabitants, the first age
was an age of innocence and happiness, called the GOLDEN AGE.
Truth and right prevailed, though not enforced by law, nor was
there any magistrate to threaten or punish.  The forest had not
yet been robbed of its trees to furnish timbers for vessels, nor
had men built fortifications round their towns.  There were no
such things as swords, spears, or helmets.  The earth brought
forth all things necessary for man, without his labor in
ploughing or sowing.  Perpetual spring reigned, flowers sprang up
without seed, the rivers flowed with milk and wine, and yellow
honey distilled from the oaks.

"But when good Saturn, banished from above,
Was driven to hell, the world was under Jove.
Succeeding times a Silver Age behold,
Excelling brass, but more excelled by gold.
Then summer, autumn, winter did appear,
And spring was but a season of the year.
The sun his annual course obliquely made,
Good days contracted and enlarged the bad,
Then air, with sultry heats, began to glow;
The wings of winds were clogged with ice and sno
And shivering mortals into houses driven,
Sought shelter from the inclemency of heaven.
Those houses then were caves, or homely sheds;
With twining osiers fenced; and moss their beds.
Then ploughs, for seed, the fruitful furrows broke,
And oxen labored first beneath the yoke.
To this came next in course the Brazen Age:
A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage,
Not impious yet! . .
. . . Hard Steel succeeded then;
And stubborn as the metal were the men."
Ovid's Metam, Book I.  Dryden's Translation.

Crime burst in like a flood; modesty, truth, and honor fled.  In
their places came fraud and cunning, violence, and the wicked
love of gain.  Then seamen spread sails to the wind, and the
trees were torn from the mountains to serve for keels to ships,
and vex the face of ocean.  The earth, which till now had been
cultivated in common, began to be divided off into possessions.
Men were not satisfied with what the surface produced, but must
dig into its bowels, and draw forth from thence the ores of
metals.  Mischievous IRON, and more mischievous GOLD, were
produced.  War sprang up, using both as weapons; the guest was
not safe in his friend's house; and sons-in-law and fathers-in-
law, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, could not trust
one another.  Sons wished their fathers dead, that they might
come to the inheritance; family love lay prostrate.  The earth
was wet with slaughter, and the gods abandoned it, one by one,
till Astraea [the goddess of innocence and purity.  After leaving
earth, she was placed among the stars, where she became the
constellation Virgo  The Virgin.  Themis (Justice) was the mother
of Astraea.  She is represented as holding aloft a pair of
scales, in which she weighs the claims of opposing parties.  It
was a favorite idea of the old poets, that these goddesses would
one day return, and bring back the Golden Age.  Even in a
Christian Hymn, the Messiah of Pope, this idea occurs.

"All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail,
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale,
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend."  See, also,
Milton's Hymn on the nativity, stanzas xiv, and xv] alone was
left, and finally she also took her departure.

Jupiter, seeing this state of things, burned with anger.  He
summoned the gods to council.  They obeyed the call, and took
The road to the palace of heaven.  The road, which any one may
see in a clear night, stretches across the face of the sky, and
is called the Milky Way.  Along the road stand the palaces of the
illustrious gods; the common people of the skies live apart, on
either side.  Jupiter addressed the assembly.  He set forth the
frightful condition of things on the earth, and closed by
announcing his intention to destroy the whole of its inhabitants,
and provide a new race, unlike the first, who would be more
worthy of life, and much better worshippers of   the gods.  So
saying he took a thunderbolt, and was about to launch it at the
world, and destroy it by burning it; but recollecting the danger
that such a conflagration might set heaven itself on fire, he
changed his plan, and resolved to drown the world.  Aquilo, the
north wind, which scatters the clouds, was chained up; Notus, the
south, was sent out, and soon covered all the face of heaven with
a cloak of pitchy darkness.  The clouds, driven together, resound
with a crash; torrents of rain fall; the crops are laid low; the
year's labor of the husbandman perishes in an hour.  Jupiter, not
satisfied with his own waters, calls on his brother Neptune to
aid him with his.  He lets loose the rivers, and pours them over
the land.  At the same time, he heaves the land with an
earthquake, and brings in the reflux of the ocean over the
shores.  Flocks, herds, men, and houses are swept away, and
temples, with their sacred enclosures, profaned.  If any edifice
remained standing, it was overwhelmed, and its turrets lay hid
beneath the waves.  Now all was sea; sea without shore.  Here and
there some one remained on a projecting hill-top, and a few, in
boats, pulled the oar where they had lately driven the plough.
The fishes swim among the tree-tops; the anchor is let down into
a garden.  Where the graceful lambs played but now, unwieldy sea-
calves gambol.  The wolf swims among the sheep; the yellow lions
and tigers struggle in the water.  The strength of the wild boar
serves him not, nor his swiftness the stag.  The birds fall with
weary wing into the water, having found no land for a resting
place.  Those living beings whom the water spared fell a prey to

Parnassus alone, of all the mountains, overtopped the waves; and
there Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, of the race of Prometheus,
found refuge   he a just man, and she a faithful worshipper of
the gods.  Jupiter, when he saw none left alive but this pair,
and remembered their harmless lives and pious demeanor, ordered
the north winds to drive away the clouds, and disclose the skies
to earth, and earth to the skies.  Neptune also directed Triton
to blow on his shell, and sound a retreat to the waters.  The
waters obeyed, and the sea returned to its shores, and the rivers
to their channels.  Then Deucalion thus addressed Pyrrha: "O
wife, only surviving woman, joined to me first by the ties of
kindred and marriage, and now by a common danger, would that we
possessed the power of our ancestor Prometheus, and could renew
the race as he at first made it!  But as we cannot, let us seek
yonder temple, and inquire of the gods what remains for us to
do."  They entered the temple, deformed as it was with slime, and
approached the altar, where no fire burned.  There they fell
prostrate on the earth, and prayed the goddess to inform them how
they might retrieve their miserable affairs.  The oracle
answered, "Depart from the temple with head veiled and garments
unbound, and cast behind you the bones of your mother."  They
heard the words with astonishment.  Pyrrha first broke silence:
"We cannot obey; we dare not profane the remains of our parents."
They sought the thickest shades of the wood, and revolved the
oracle in their minds.  At length Deucalion spoke: "Either my
sagacity deceives me, or the command is one we may obey without
impiety.  The earth is the great parent of all; the stones are
her bones; these we may cast behind us; and I think this is what
the oracle means.  At least, it will do no harm to try."  They
veiled their faces, unbound their garments, and picked up stones,
and cast them behind them.  The stones (wonderful to relate)
began to grow soft, and assume shape.  By degrees, they put on a
rude resemblance to the human form, like a block half finished in
the hands of the sculptor.  The moisture and slime that were
about them became flesh; the stony part became bones; the veins
remained veins, retaining their name, only changing their use.
Those thrown by the hand of the man became men, and those by the
woman became women.  It was a hard race, and well adapted to
labor, as we find ourselves to be at this day, giving plain
indications of our origin.

The comparison of Eve to Pandora is too obvious to have escaped
Milton, who introduces it in Book IV, of Paradise Lost:--

"More lovely than Pandora, whom the gods
Endowed with all their gifts; and O, too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Jupiter, brought by Hermes, she ensnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire."

Prometheus and Epimetheus were sons of Iapetus, which Milton
changes to Japhet.

Prometheus, the Titan son of Iapetus and Themis, is a favorite
subject with the poets.  AEschylus wrote three tragedies on the
subjects of his confinement, his release, and his worship at
Athens.  Of these only the first is preserved, the Prometheus
Bound.  Prometheus was the only one in the council of the gods
who favored man.  He alone was kind to the human race, and taught
and protected them.

"I formed his mind,
And through the cloud of barbarous ignorance
Diffused the beams of knowledge . . . .
They saw indeed, they heard, but what availed
Or sight or hearing, all things round them rolling,
Like the unreal imagery of dreams
In wild confusion mixed!  The lightsome wall
Of finer masonry, the raftered roof
They knew not; but like ants still buried, delved
Deep in the earth and scooped their sunless caves.
Unmarked the seasons ranged, the biting winter,
The flower-perfumed spring, the ripening summer
Fertile of fruits.  At random all their works
Till I instructed them to mark the stars,
Their rising, and, a harder science yet,
Their setting.  The rich train of marshalled numbers
I taught them, and the meet array of letters.
To impress these precepts on their hearts I sent
Memory, the active mother of all reason.
I taught the patient steer to bear the yoke,
In all his toils joint-laborer of man.
By me the harnessed steed was trained to whirl
The rapid car, and grace the pride of wealth.
The tall bark, lightly bounding o'er the waves,
I taught its course, and winged its flying sail.
To man I gave these arts."
Potter's Translation from the Prometheus Bound

Jupiter, angry at the insolence and presumption of Prometheus in
taking upon himself to give all these blessings to man, condemned
the Titan to perpetual imprisonment, bound on a rock on Mount
Caucasus while a vulture should forever prey upon his liver.
This state of torment might at any time have been brought to an
end by Prometheus if he had been willing to submit to his
oppressor.  For Prometheus knew of a fatal marriage which Jove
must make and by which he must come to ruin.  Had Prometheus
revealed this secret he would at once have been taken into favor.
But this he disdained to do.  He has therefore become the symbol
of magnanimous endurance of unmerited suffering and strength of
will resisting oppression.

Byron and Shelley have both treated this theme.  The following
are Byron's lines:--

"Titan!  To whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise,
What was thy pity's recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain;
All that the proud can feel of pain;
The agony they do not show;
The suffocating sense of woe.

"Thy godlike crime was to be kind;
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen man with his own mind.
And, baffled as thou wert from high,
Still, in thy patient energy,
In the endurance and repulse,
Of thine impenetrable spirit,
Which earth and heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit."


The slime with which the earth was covered by the waters of the
flood, produced an excessive fertility, which called forth every
variety of production, both bad and good.  Among the rest,
Python, an enormous serpent, crept forth, the terror of the
people, and lurked in the caves of Mount Parnassus.  Apollo slew
him with his arrows   weapons which he had not before used
against any but feeble animals, hares, wild goats, and such game.
In commemoration of this illustrious conquest he instituted the
Pythian games, in which the victor in feats of strength,
swiftness of foot, or in the chariot race, was crowned with a
wreath of beech leaves; for the laurel was not yet adopted by
Apollo as his own tree.  And here Apollo founded his oracle at
Delphi, the only oracle "that was not exclusively national, for
it was consulted by many outside nations, and, in fact, was held
in the highest repute all over the world.  In obedience to its
decrees, the laws of Lycurgus were introduced, and the earliest
Greek colonies founded.  No cities were built without first
consulting the Delphic oracle, for it was believed that Apollo
took special delight in the founding of cities, the first stone
of which he laid in person; nor was any enterprise ever
undertaken without inquiry at this sacred fane as to its probable
success" [From Beren's Myths and Legends of Greece and Rome.]

The famous statue of Apollo called the Belvedere [From the
Belvedere of the Vatican palace where it stands] represents the
god after his victory over the serpent Python.  To this Byron
alludes in his Childe Harold, iv. 161:--

"The lord of the unerring bow,
The god of life, and poetry, and light,
The Sun, in human limbs arrayed, and brow
All radiant from his triumph in the fight.
The shaft has just been shot; the arrow bright
With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye
And nostril, beautiful disdain, and might,
And majesty flash their full lightnings by,
Developing in that one glance the Deity."


Daphne was Apollo's first love.  It was not brought about by
accident, but by the malice of Cupid.  Apollo saw the boy playing
with his bow and arrows; and being himself elated with his recent
victory over Python, he said to him, "What have you to do with
warlike weapons, saucy boy?  Leave them for hands worthy of them.
Behold the conquest I have won by means of them over the vast
serpent who stretched his poisonous body over acres of the plain!
Be content with your torch, child, and kindle up your flames, as
you call them, where you will, but presume not to meddle with my

Venus's boy heard these words, and rejoined, ":Your arrows may
strike all things else, Apollo, but mine shall strike you.:" So
saying, he took his stand on a rock of Parnassus, and drew from
his quiver two arrows of different workmanship, one to excite
love, the other to repel it.  The former was of gold and sharp-
pointed, the latter blunt and tipped with lead.  With the leaden
shaft he struck the nymph Daphne, the daughter of the river god
Peneus, and with the golden one Apollo, through the heart.
Forthwith the god was seized with love for the maiden, and she
abhorred the thought of loving.  Her delight was in woodland
sports and in the spoils of the chase.  Many lovers sought her,
but she spurned them all, ranging the woods, and taking thought
neither of Cupid nor of Hymen.  Her father often said to her,
"Daughter, you owe me a son-in-law; you owe me grandchildren."
She, hating the thought of marriage as a crime, with her
beautiful face tinged all over with blushes, threw her arms
around her father's neck, and said, "Dearest father, grant me
this favor, that I may always remain unmarried, like Diana."  He
consented, but at the same time said, "Your own face will forbid

Apollo loved her, and longed to obtain her; and he who gives
oracles to all in the world was not wise enough to look into his
own fortunes.  He saw her hair flung loose over her shoulders,
and said, "If so charming in disorder, what would it be if
arranged?"  He saw her eyes bright as stars; he saw her lips, and
was not satisfied with only seeing them.  He admired her hands
and arms bared to the shoulder, and whatever was hidden from view
he imagined more beautiful still.  He followed her; she fled,
swifter than the wind, and delayed not a moment at his
entreaties.  "Stay," said he, "daughter of Peneus; I am not a
foe.  Do not fly me as a lamb flies the wolf, or a dove the hawk.
It is for love I pursue you.  You make me miserable, for fear you
should fall and hurt yourself on these stones, and I should be
the cause.  Pray run slower, and I will follow slower.  I am no
clown, no rude peasant.  Jupiter is my father, and I am lord of
Delphos and Tenedos, and know all things, present and future.  I
am the god of song and the lyre.  My arrows fly true to the mark;
but alas!  An arrow more fatal than mine has pierced my heart!  I
am the god of medicine, and know the virtues of all healing
plants.  Alas!  I suffer a malady that no balm can cure!"

The nymph continued her flight, and left his plea half uttered.
And even as she fled she charmed him.  The wind blew her
garments, and her unbound hair streamed loose behind her.  The
god grew impatient to find his wooings thrown away, and, sped by
Cupid, gained upon her in the race.  It was like a hound pursuing
a hare, with open jaws ready to seize, while the feebler animal
darts forward, slipping from the very grasp.  So flew the god and
the virgin   he on the wings of love, and she on those of fear.
The pursuer is the more rapid, however, and gains upon her, and
his panting breath blows upon her hair.  Now her strength begins
to fail, and, ready to sink, she calls upon her father, the river
god: "Help me, Peneus!  Open the earth to enclose me, or change
my form, which has brought me into this danger!"

Scarcely had she spoken, when a stiffness seized all her limbs;
her bosom began to be enclosed in a tender bark; her hair became
leaves; her arms became branches; her feet stuck fast in the
ground, as roots; her face became a tree-top, retaining nothing
of its former self but its beauty.  Apollo stood amazed.  He
touched the stem, and felt the flesh tremble under the new bark.
He embraced the branches, and lavished kisses on the wood.  The
branches shrank from his lips.  "Since you cannot be my wife,"
said he, "you shall assuredly be my tree.  I will wear you for my
crown.  With you I will decorate my harp and my quiver; and when
the great Roman conquerors lead up the triumphal pomp to the
Capitol, you shall be woven into wreaths for their brows.  And,
as eternal youth is mine, you also shall be always green, and
your leaf know no decay."  The nymph, now changed into a laurel
tree, bowed its head in grateful acknowledgment.

Apollo was god of music and of poetry and also of medicine.  For,
as the poet Armstrong says, himself a physician:--

"Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,
Expels disease, softens every pain;
And hence the wise of ancient days adored
One power of physic, melody, and song."

The story of Apollo and Daphne is often alluded to by the poets.
Waller applies it to the case of one whose amatory verses, though
they did not soften the heart of his mistress, yet won for the
poet wide-spread fame.

"Yet what he sung in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain.
All but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
Attend his passion and approve his song.
Like Phoebus thus, acquiring unsought praise,
He caught at love and filled his arms with bays."

The following stanza from Shelley's Adonais alludes to Byron's
early quarrel with the reviewers:--

"The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
The obscene ravens, clamorous o'er the dead;
The vultures, to the conqueror's banner true,
Who feed where Desolation first has fed.
And whose wings rain contagion; how they fled,
When like Apollo, from his golden bow,
The Pythian of the age one arrow sped
And smiled!  The spoilers tempt no second blow;
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them as they go."


Pyramus was the handsomest youth, and Thisbe the fairest maiden,
in all Babylonia, where Semiramis reigned.  Their parents
occupied adjoining houses; and neighborhood brought the young
people together, and acquaintance ripened into love.  They would
gladly have married, but their parents forbade.  One thing,
however, they could not forbid   that love should glow with equal
ardor in the bosoms of both.  They conversed by signs and
glances, and the fire burned more intensely for being covered up.
In the wall that parted the two houses there was a crack, caused
by some fault in the structure.  No one had remarked it before,
but the lovers discovered it.  'What will love not discover?  It
afforded a passage to the voice; and tender messages used to pass
backward and forward through the gap.  As they stood, Pyramus on
this side, Thisbe on that, their breaths would mingle.  "Cruel
wall," they said, "why do you keep two lovers apart?  But we will
not be ungrateful.  We owe you, we confess, the privilege of
transmitting loving words to willing ears."  Such words they
uttered on different sides of the wall; and when night came and
they must say farewell, they pressed their lips upon the wall,
she on her side, he on his, as they could come no nearer.

One morning, when Aurora had put out the stars, and the sun had
melted the frost from the grass, they met at the accustomed spot.
Then, after lamenting their hard fate, they agreed that next
night, when all was still, they would slip away from watchful
eyes, leave their dwellings and walk out into the fields; and to
insure a meeting, repair to a well-known edifice, standing
without the city's bounds, called the tomb of Ninus, and that the
one who came first should await the other at the foot of a
certain tree.  It was a white mulberry tree and stood near a cool
spring.  All was agreed on, and they waited impatiently for the
sun to go down beneath the waters and night to rise up from them.
Then cautiously Thisbe stole forth, unobserved by the family, her
head covered with a veil, made her way to the monument and sat
down under the tree.  As she sat alone in the dim light of the
evening she descried a lioness, her jaws reeking with recent
slaughter, approaching the fountain to slake her thirst.  Thisbe
fled at the sight, and sought refuge in the hollow of a rock.  As
she fled she dropped her veil.  The lioness, after drinking at
the spring, turned to retreat to the woods, and seeing the veil
on the ground, tossed and rent it with her bloody mouth.

Pyramus, having been delayed, now approached the place of
meeting.  He saw in the sand the footsteps of the lion, and the
color fled from his cheeks at the sight.  Presently he found the
veil all rent and bloody.  "Oh, hapless girl," said he, "I have
been the cause of thy death!  Thou, more worthy of life than I,
hast fallen the first victim.  I will follow.  I am the guilty
cause, in tempting thee forth to a place of such peril, and not
being myself on the spot to guard thee.  Come forth, ye lions,
from the rocks, and tear this guilty body with your teeth" He
took up the veil, carried it with him to the appointed tree, and
covered it with kisses and with tears.  "My blood also shall
stain your texture," said he, and drawing his sword plunged it
into his heart.  The blood spurted from the wound, and tinged the
white mulberries of the tree all red; and sinking into the earth
reached the roots, so that the red color mounted through the
trunk to the fruit.

By this time, Thisbe, still trembling with fear, yet wishing not
to disappoint her lover, stepped cautiously forth, looking
anxiously for the youth, eager to tell him the danger she had
escaped.  When she came to the spot and saw the changed color of
the mulberries she doubted whether it was the same place.  While
she hesitated she saw the form of one struggling in the agonies
of death.  She started back, a shudder ran through her frame as a
ripple on the face of the still water when a sudden breeze sweeps
over it.  But as soon as she recognized her lover, she screamed
and beat her breast; embracing the lifeless body, pouring tears
into its wounds, and imprinting kisses on the cold lips.  "Oh,
Pyramus," she cried, "what has done this?  Answer me, Pyramus; it
is your own Thisbe that speaks.  Hear me, dearest, and lift that
drooping head!"  At the name of Thisbe, Pyramus opened his eyes,
then closed them again.  She saw her veil stained with blood and
the scabbard empty of its sword.  "Thy own hand has slain thee,
and for my sake," she said.  "I too can be brave for once, and my
love is as strong as thine.  I will follow thee in death, for I
have been the cause; and death, which alone could part us, shall
not prevent my joining thee.  And ye, unhappy parents of us both,
deny us not our united request.  As love and death have joined
us, let one tomb contain us.  And thou, tree, retain the marks of
slaughter.  Let thy berries still serve for memorials of our
blood."  So saying, she plunged the sword into her breast.  Her
parents acceded to her wish; the gods also ratified it.  The two
bodies were buried in one sepulchre, and the tree ever after
brought forth purple berries, as it does to this day.

Moore, in the Sylph's Ball, speaking of Davy's Safety Lamp, is
reminded of the wall that separated Thisbe and her lover:--

"O for that lamp's metallic gauze,
That curtain of protecting wire,
Which Davy delicately draws
Around illicit, dangerous fire!

"The wall he sets 'twixt Flame and Air,
(Like that which barred young Thisbe's bliss),
Through whose small holes this dangerous pair
May see each other, but not kiss."

In Mickle's translation of the Lusiad occurs the following
allusion to the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, and the
metamorphosis of the mulberries.  The poet is describing the
Island of Love.

"   here each gift Pomona's hand bestows
In cultured garden, free uncultured flows,
The flavor sweeter and the hue more fair
Than e'er was fostered by the hand of care.
The cherry here in shining crimson glows,
And stained with lover's blood, in pendent rows,
The mulberries o'erload the bending boughs."

If any of our young readers can be so hard-hearted as to enjoy a
laugh at the expense of poor Pyramus and Thisbe, they may find an
opportunity by turning to Shakespeare's play of Midsummer Night's
Dream, where it is most amusingly burlesqued.

Here is the description of the play and the characters by the

"Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth makes all things plain.
This man is Pyramus, if you would know;
This lovely lady Thisby is certain.

This man with lime and roughcast, doth present
Wall, that vile Wall, which did these lovers sunder;
And through Wall's chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper.  At the which let no man wonder.
This man, with lanthorn, dog and bush of thorn,
Presenteth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
By Moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
To meet at Ninus' tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which by name Lion hight.
The trusty Thisby, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.

Anon comes Pyramus, sweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Thisby's mantle slain;
Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast;
And, Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew and died."
Midsummer Night's Dream, v.1,128, et seq.


Cephalus was a beautiful youth and fond of manly sports.  He
would rise before the dawn to pursue the chase.  Aurora saw him
when she first looked forth, fell in love with him, and stole him
away.  But Cephalus was just married to a charming wife whom he
loved devotedly.  Her name was Procris.  She was a favorite of
Diana, the goddess of hunting, who had given her a dog which
could outrun every rival, and a javelin which would never fail of
its mark; and Procris gave these presents to her husband.
Cephalus was so happy in his wife that he resisted all the
entreaties of Aurora, and she finally dismissed him in
displeasure, saying, "Go, ungrateful mortal, keep your wife,
whom, if I am not much mistaken, you will one day be very sorry
you ever saw again."

Cephalus returned, and was as happy as ever in his wife and his
woodland sports.  Now it happened some angry deity had sent a
ravenous fox to annoy the country; and the hunters turned out in
great strength to capture it.  Their efforts were all in vain; no
dog could run it down; and at last they came to Cephalus to
borrow his famous dog, whose name was Lelaps.  No sooner was the
dog let loose than he darted off, quicker than their eye could
follow him.  If they had not seen his footprints in the sand they
would have thought he flew.  Cephalus and others stood on a hill
and saw the race.  The fox tried every art; he ran in a circle
and turned on his track, the dog close upon him, with open jaws,
snapping at his heels, but biting only the air.  Cephalus was
about to use his javelin, when suddenly he saw both dog and game
stop instantly.  The heavenly powers who had given both, were not
willing that either should conquer.  In the very attitude of life
and action they were turned into stone.  So lifelike and natural
did they look, you would have thought, as you looked at them,
that one was going to bark, the other to leap forward.

Cephalus, though he had lost his dog, still continued to take
delight in the chase.  He would go out at early morning, ranging
the woods and hills unaccompanied by any one, needing no help,
for his javelin was a sure weapon in all cases.  Fatigued with
hunting, when the sun got high he would seek a shady nook where a
cool stream flowed, and, stretched on the grass with his garments
thrown aside, would enjoy the breeze.  Sometimes he would say
aloud, "Come, sweet breeze, come and fan my breast, come and
allay the heat that burns me."  Some one passing by one day heard
him talking in this way to the air, and, foolishly believing that
he was talking to some maiden, went and told the secret to
Procris, Cephalus's wife.  Love is credulous.  Procris, at the
sudden shock, fainted away.  Presently recovering, she said, "It
cannot be true; I will not believe it unless I myself am a
witness to it."  So she waited, with anxious heart, till the next
morning, when Cephalus went to hunt as usual.  Then she stole out
after him, and concealed herself in the place where the informer
directed her.  Cephalus came as he was wont when tired with
sport, and stretched himself on the green bank, saying, "Come,
sweet breeze, come and fan me; you know how I love you!  You make
the groves and my solitary rambles delightful."  He was running
on in this way when he heard, or thought he heard, a sound as of
a sob in the bushes.  Supposing it some wild animal, he threw hie
javelin at the spot.  A cry from his beloved Procris told him
that the weapon had too surely met its mark.  He rushed to the
place, and found her bleeding and with sinking strength
endeavoring to draw forth from the wound the javelin, her own
gift.  Cephalus raised her from the earth, strove to stanch the
blood, and called her to revive and not to leave him miserable,
to reproach himself with her death.  She opened her feeble eyes,
and forced herself to utter these few words: "I implore you, if
you have ever loved me, if I have ever deserved kindness at your
hands, my husband, grant me this last request; do not marry that
odious Breeze!"  This disclosed the whole mystery; but alas!
What advantage to disclose it now?  She died; but her face wore a
calm expression, and she looked pityingly and forgivingly on her
husband when he made her understand the truth.

In Shakespeare's play just quoted, there is an allusion to
Cephalus and Procris, although rather badly spelt.

Pyramus says, "Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true."
Thisbe.  "As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you."

Moore, in his Legendary Ballads, has one on Cephalus and Procris,
beginning thus:--

"A hunter once in a grove reclined,
To shun the noon's bright eye,
And oft he wooed the wandering wind
To cool his brow with its sigh.
While mute lay even the wild bee's hum,
Nor breath could stir the aspen's hair,
His song was still, 'Sweet Air, O come!'
While Echo answered, 'Come, sweet Air!'"

Chapter III
Io and Callisto. Diana and Actaeon. The Story of Phaeton

Jupiter and Juno, although husband and wife, did not live
together very happily.  Jupiter did not love his wife very much,
and Juno distrusted her husband, and was always accusing him of
unfaithfulness.  One day she perceived that it suddenly grew
dark, and immediately suspected that her husband had raised a
cloud to hide some of his doings that would not bear the light.
She brushed away the cloud, and saw her husband, on the banks of
a glassy river, with a beautiful heifer standing near him.  Juno
suspected that the heifer's form concealed some fair nymph of
mortal mould.  This was indeed the case; for it was Io, the
daughter of the river god Inachus, whom Jupiter had been flirting
with, and, when he became aware of the approach of his wife, had
changed into that form.

Juno joined her husband, and noticing the heifer, praised its
beauty, and asked whose it was, and of what herd.  Jupiter, to
stop questions, replied that it was a fresh creation from the
earth.  Juno asked to have it as a gift.  What could Jupiter do?
He was loth to give his mistress to his wife; yet how refuse so
trifling a present as a simple heifer?  He could not, without
arousing suspicion; so he consented.  The goddess was not yet
relieved of her suspicions; and she delivered the heifer to
Argus, to be strictly watched.

Now Argus had a hundred eyes in his head, and never went to sleep
with more than two at a time, so that he kept watch of Io
constantly.  He suffered her to feed through the day, and at
night tied her up with a vile rope round her neck.  She would
have stretched out her arms to implore freedom of Argus, but she
had no arms to stretch out, and her voice was a bellow that
frightened even herself. She saw her father and her sisters, went
near them, and suffered them to pat her back, and heard them
admire her beauty.  Her father reached her a tuft o gras, and she
licked the outstretched hand.  She longed to make herself known
to him, and would have uttered her wish; but, alas!  words were
wanting.   At length she bethought herself of writing, and
inscribed her name   it was a short one   with her hoof on the
sand.  Inachus recognized it, and discovering that his daughter,
whom he had long sought in vain, was hidden under this disguise,
mourned over her, and, embracing her white neck, exclaimed,
"Alas!  My daughter, it would have been a less grief to have lost
you altogether!"  While he thus lamented, Argus, observing, came
and drove her away, and took his seat on a high bank, whence he
could see in every direction.

Jupiter was troubled at beholding the sufferings of his mistress,
and calling Mercury, told him to go and despatch Argus.  Mercury
made haste, put his winged slippers on his feet, and cap on his
head, took his sleep-producing wand, and leaped down from the
heavenly towers to the earth.  There he laid aside his wings, and
kept only his wand, with which he presented himself as a shepherd
driving his flock.  As he strolled on he blew upon his pipes.
These were what are called the Syrinx or Pandean pipes.  Argus
listened with delight, for he had never heard the instrument
before.  "Young man," said he, "come and take a seat by me on
this stone.  There is no better place for your flock to graze in
than hereabouts, and here is a pleasant shade such as shepherds
love."  Mercury sat down, talked, and told stories until it grew
late, and played upon his pipes his most soothing strains, hoping
to lull the watchful eyes to sleep, but all in vain; for Argus
still contrived to keep some of his eyes open, though he shut the

Among other stories, Mercury told him how the instrument on which
he played was invented.  "There was a certain nymph, whose name
was Syrinx, who was much beloved by the satyrs and spirits of the
wood; but she would have none of them, but was a faithful
worshipper of Diana, and followed the chase.  You would have
thought it was Diana herself, had you seen her in her hunting
dress, only that her bow was of horn and Diana's of silver.  One
day, as she was returning from the chase, Pan met her, told her
just this, and added more of the same sort.  She ran away,
without stopping to hear his compliments, and he pursued till she
came to the bank of the river, where he overtook her, and she had
only time to call for help on her friends, the water nymphs. They
heard and consented.  Pan threw his arms around what he supposed
to be the form of the nymph, and found he embraced only a tuft of
reeds!  As he breathed a sigh, the air sounded through the reeds,
and produced a plaintive melody.  The god, charmed with the
novelty and with the sweetness of the music, said 'Thus, then, at
least, you shall be mine.'  And he took some of the reeds, and
placing them together, of unequal lengths, side by side, made an
instrument which he called Syrinx, in honor of the nymph."
Before Mercury had finished his story, he saw Argus's eyes all
asleep.  As his head nodded forward on his breast, Mercury with
one stroke cut his neck through, and tumbled his head down the
rocks.  O hapless Argus!  The light of your hundred eyes is
quenched at once!  Juno took them and put them as ornaments on
the tail of her peacock, where they remain to this day.

But the vengeance of Juno was not yet satiated.  She sent a
gadfly to torment Io, who fled over the whole world from its
pursuit.  She swam through the Ionian Sea, which derived its name
from her, then roamed over the plains of Illyria, ascended Mount
Haemus, and crossed the Thracian strait, thence named the
Bosphorus (cow-bearer), rambled on through Scythia and the
country of the Cimmerians, and arrived at last on the banks of
the Nile.  At length Jupiter interceded for her, and, upon his
promising not to pay her any more attentions, Juno consented to
restore her to her form.  It was curious to see her gradually
recover her former self.  The coarse hairs fell from her body,
her horns shrunk up, her eyes grew narrower, her mouth shorter;
hands and fingers came instead of hoofs to her forefeet; in fine,
there was nothing left of the heifer except her beauty.  At first
she was afraid to speak for fear she should low, but gradually
she recovered her confidence, and was restored to her father and

In a poem dedicated to Leigh Hunt, by Keats, the following
allusion to the story of Pan and Syrinx occurs:--

"So did he feel who pulled the boughs aside,
That we might look into a forest wide,
                                             *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
Telling us how fair trembling Syrinx fled
Arcadian Pan, with such a fearful dread.
Poor nymph   poor Pan   how he did weep to find
Nought but a lovely sighing of the wind
Along the reedy stream; a half-heard strain,
Full of sweet desolation, balmy pain."


Callisto was another maiden who excited the jealousy of Juno, and
the goddess changed her into a bear.  "I will take away," said
she, :"that beauty with which you have captivated my husband."
Down fell Callisto on her hands and knees; she tried to stretch
out her arms in supplication,-- they were already beginning to be
covered with black hair.  Her hands grew rounded, became armed
with crooked claws, and served for feet; her mouth, which Jove
used to praise for its beauty, became a horrid pair of jaws; her
voice, which if unchanged would have moved the heart to pity,
became a growl, more fit to inspire terror.  Yet her former
disposition remained, and, with continued groaning, she bemoaned
her fate, and stood upright as well as she could, lifting up her
paws to beg for mercy; and felt that Jove was unkind, though she
could not tell him so.  Ah, how often, afraid to stay in the
woods all night alone, she wandered about the neighborhood of her
former haunts; how often, frightened by the dogs, did she, so
lately a huntress, fly in terror from the hunters!  Often she
fled from the wild beasts, forgetting that she was now a wild
beast herself; and, bear as she was, was afraid of the bears.

One day a youth espied her as he was hunting.  She saw him and
recognized him as her own son, now grown a young man.  She
stopped, and felt inclined to embrace him.  As she was about to
approach, he, alarmed, raised his hunting spear, and was on the
point of transfixing her, when Jupiter, beholding, arrested the
crime, and, snatching away both of them, placed them in the
heavens as the Great and Little Bear.

Juno was in a rage to see her rival so set in honor, and hastened
to ancient Tethys and Oceanus, the powers of ocean, and, in
answer to their inquiries, thus told the cause of her coming; "Do
you ask why I, the queen of the gods, have left the heavenly
plains and sought your depths.  Learn that I am supplanted in
heaven,-- my place is given to another.  You will hardly believe
me; but look when night darkens the world, and you shall see the
two, of whom I have so much reason to complain, exalted to the
heavens, in that part where the circle is the smallest, in the
neighborhood of the pole.  Why should any one hereafter tremble
at the thought of offending Juno, when such rewards are the
consequence of my displeasure!  See what I have been able to
effect!  I forbade her to wear the human form,-- she is placed
among the stars!  So do my punishments result,-- such is the
extent of my power!  Better that she should have resumed her
former shape, as I permitted Io to do.  Perhaps he means to marry
her, and put me away!  But you, my foster parents, if you feel
for me, and see with displeasure this unworthy treatment of me,
show it, I beseech you, by forbidding this guilty couple from
coming into your waters."  The powers of the ocean assented, and
consequently the two constellations of the Great and Little Bear
move round and round in heaven, but never sink, as the other
stars do, beneath the ocean.

Milton alludes to the fact that the constellation of the Bear
never sets, when he says,

"Let my lamp at midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear."
Il Penseroso

And Prometheus, in James Russell Lowell's poem, says,

"One after one the stars have risen and set,
Sparkling upon the hoar-frost of my chain;
The Bear that prowled all night about the fold
Of the North Star, hath shrunk into his den,
Scared by the blithsome footsteps of the dawn."

The last star in the tail of the Little Bear is the Pole star,
called also the Cynosure.  Milton says,

"Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
While the landscape round it measures.
                                             *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosomed high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies
The Cynosure of neighboring eyes."

The reference here is both to the Pole-star as the guide of
mariners, and to the magnetic attraction of the North.  He calls
it also the "Star of Aready," because Callisto's boy was named
Arcas, and they lived in Arcadia.  In Milton's Comus, the elder
brother, benighted in the woods, says,

"Some gentle taper!
Through a rush candle, from
the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation,
visit us
With thy long levelled rule
of streaming light,
And thou shalt be our star of Aready,
Or Tyrian Chynsure."


It was midday, and the sun stood equally distant from either
goal, when young Actaeon, son of King Cadmus, thus addressed the
youths who with him were hunting the stag in the mountains:--

"Friends, our nets and our weapons are wet with the blood of our
victims; we have had sport enough for one day, and tomorrow we
can renew our labors.  Now, while Phoebus parches the earth, let
us put by our instruments and indulge ourselves with rest."

There was a valley thickly enclosed with cypresses and pines,
sacred to the huntress-queen, Diana.  In the extremity of the
valley was a cave, not adorned with art, but nature had
counterfeited art in its construction, for she had turned the
arch of its roof with stones as delicately fitted as if by the
hand of man.  A fountain burst out from one side, whose open
basin was bounded by a grassy rim.  Here the goddess of the woods
used to come when weary with hunting and lave her virgin limbs in
the sparkling water.

One day, having repaired thither with her nymphs, she handed her
javelin, her quiver, and her bow to one, her robe to another,
while a third unbound the sandals from her feet.  Then Crocale,
the most skilful of them, arranged her hair, and Nephele, Hyale,
and the rest drew water in capacious urns.  While the goddess was
thus employed in the labors of the toilet, behold, Actaeon,
having quitted his companions, and rambling without any especial
object, came to the place, led thither by his destiny.  As he
presented himself at the entrance of the cave, the nymphs, seeing
a man, screamed and rushed towards the goddess to hide her with
their bodies.  But she was taller than the rest, and overtopped
them all by a head.  Such a color as tinges the clouds at sunset
or at dawn came over the countenance of Diana thus taken by
surprise.  Surrounded as she was by her nymphs, she yet turned
half away, and sought with a sudden impulse for her arrows.  As
they were not at hand, she dashed the water into the face of the
intruder, adding these words: "Now go and tell, if you can, that
you have seen Diana unapparelled."  Immediately a pair of
branching stag's horns grew out of his head, his neck gained in
length, his ears grew sharp-pointed, his hands became feet, his
arms long legs, his body was covered with a hairy spotted hide.
Fear took the place of his former boldness, and the hero fled.
He could not but admire his own speed; but when he saw his horns
in the water, "Ah, wretched me!: he would have said, but no sound
followed the effort.  He groaned, and tears flowed down the face
that had taken the place of his own.  Yet his consciousness
remained.  What shall he do?   Go home to seek the palace, or lie
hid in the woods?  The latter he was afraid, the former he was
ashamed, to do.  While he hesitated the dogs saw him.  First
Melampus, a Spartan dog, gave the signal with his bark, then
Pamphagus, Dorceus, Lelaps, Theron, Nape, Tigris, and all the
rest, rushed after him swifter than the wind.  Over rocks and
cliffs, through mountain gorges that seemed impracticable, he
fled, and they followed.  Where he had often chased the stag and
cheered on his pack, his pack now chased him, cheered on by his
own huntsmen.  He longed to cry out, "I am Actaeon; recognize
your master!"  But the words came not at his will.  The air
resounded with the bark of the dogs.  Presently one fastened on
his back, another seized his shoulder.  While they held their
master, the rest of the pack came up and buried their teeth in
his flesh.  He groaned,   not in a human voice, yet certainly not
in a stag's,   and, falling on his knees, raised his eyes, and
would have raised his arms in supplication, if he had had them.
His friends and fellow-huntsmen cheered on the dogs, and looked
every where for Actaeon, calling on him to join the sport.  At
the sound of his name, he turned his head, and heard them regret
that he should be away.  He earnestly wished he was.  He would
have been well pleased to see the exploits of his dogs, but to
feel them was too much.  They were all around him, rending and
tearing; and it was not till they had torn his life out that the
anger of Diana was satisfied.

In the "Epic of Hades" there is a description of Actaeon and his
change of form.  Perhaps the most beautiful lines in it are when
Actaeon, changed to a stag, first hears his own hounds and flees.

"But as I gazed, and careless turned and passed
Through the thick wood, forgetting what had been,
And thinking thoughts no longer, swift there came
A mortal terror; voices that I knew.
My own hounds' bayings that I loved before,
As with them often o'er the purple hills
I chased the flying hart from slope to slope,
Before the slow sun climbed the eastern peaks,
Until the swift sun smote the western plain;
Whom often I had cheered by voice and glance,
Whom often I had checked with hand and thong;
Grim followers, like the passions, firing me,
True servants, like the strong nerves, urging me
On many a fruitless chase, to find and take
Some too swift-fleeting beauty, faithful feet
And tongues, obedient always: these I knew
Clothed with a new-born force and vaster grown,
And stronger than their master; and I thought,
What if they tore me with their jaws, nor knew
That once I ruled them,   brute pursuing brute,
And I the quarry?  Then I turned and fled
If it was I indeed that feared and fled
Down the long glades, and through the tangled brakes,
Where scarce the sunlight pierced; fled on and on,
And panted, self-pursued.  But evermore
The dissonant music which I knew so sweet,
When by the windy hills, the echoing vales
And whispering pines it rang; now far, now near
As from my rushing steed I leant and cheered
With voice and horn the chase; this brought to me
Fear of I knew not what, which bade me fly,
Fly always, fly; but when my heart stood still,
And all my limbs were stiffened as I fled,
Just as the white moon ghost-like climbed the sky,
Nearer they came and nearer, baying loud,
With bloodshot eyes and red jaws dripping foam;
And when I strove to check their savagery,
Speaking with words; no voice articulate came,
Only a dumb, low bleat.  Then all the throng
Leapt swift upon me and tore me as I lay,
And left me man again."

In Shelley's poem Adonais is the following allusion to the story
of Actaeon:--

"Midst others of less note came one frail form,
A phantom among men; companionless
As the last cloud of an expiring storm,
Whose thunder is its knell; he, as I guess,
Had gazed on Nature's naked loveliness,
Actaeon-like, and now he fled astray
With feeble steps o'er the world's wilderness;
And his own Thoughts, along that rugged way,
Pursued like raging hounds their father and their prey."
Adonais, stanza 31.

The allusion is probably to Shelley himself.


Some thought the goddess in this instance more severe than was
just, while others praised her conduct as strictly consistent
with her virgin dignity.  As usual, the recent event brought
older ones to mind, and one of the bystanders told this story.
"Some countrymen of Lycia once insulted the goddess Latona, but
not with impunity.  When I was young, my father, who had grown
too old for active labors, sent me to Lycia to drive thence some
choice oxen, and there I saw the very pond and marsh where the
wonder happened.  Near by stood an ancient altar, black with the
smoke of sacrifice and almost buried among the reeds.  I inquired
whose altar it might be, whether of Faunus or the Naiads or some
god of the neighboring mountain, and one of the country people
replied, 'No mountain or river god possesses this altar, but she
whom royal Juno in her jealousy drove from land to land, denying
her any spot of earth whereon to rear her twins.  Bearing in her
arms the infant deities, Latona reached this land, weary with her
burden and parched with thirst.  By chance she espied in the
bottom of the valley this pond of clear water, where the country
people were at work gathering willows and osiers.  The goddess
approached, and kneeling on the bank would have slaked her thirst
in the cool stream, but the rustics forbade her.  'Why do you
refuse me water?' said she; 'water is free to all.  Nature allows
no one to claim as property the sunshine, the air, or the water.
I come to take my share of the common blessing.  Yet I ask it of
you as a favor.  I have no intention of washing my limbs in it,
weary though they be, but only to quench my thirst.  My mouth is
so dry that I can hardly speak.  A draught of water would be
nectar to me; it would revive me, and I would own myself indebted
to you for life itself.  Let these infants move your pity, who
stretch out their little arms as if to plead for me'; and the
children, as it happened, were stretching out their arms.

"Who would not have been moved with these gentle words of the
goddess?  But these clowns persisted in their rudeness; they even
added jeers and threats of violence if she did not leave the
place.  Nor was this all.  They waded into the pond and stirred
up the mud with their feet, so as to make the water unfit to
drink.  Latona was so angry that she ceased to feel her thirst.
She no longer supplicated the clowns, but lifting her hands to
heaven exclaimed, 'May they never quit that pool, but pass their
lives there!'  And it came to pass accordingly.  They now live in
the water, sometimes totally submerged, then raising their heads
above the surface, or swimming upon it.  Sometimes they come out
upon the bank, but soon leap back again into the water.  They
still use their base voices in railing, and though they have the
water all to themselves, are not ashamed to croak in the midst of
it.  Their voices are harsh, their throats bloated, their mouths
have become stretched by constant railing, their necks have
shrunk up and disappeared, and their heads are joined to their
bodies.  Their backs are green, their disproportioned bellies
white, and in short they are now frogs, and dwell in the slimy

This story explains the allusion in one of Milton's sonnets, "On
the detraction which followed upon his writing certain

"I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known laws of ancient liberty,.
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs.
As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs
Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the sun and moon in fee."

The persecution which Latona experienced from Juno is alluded to
in the story.  The tradition was that the future mother of Apollo
and Diana, flying from the wrath of Juno, besought all the
islands of the Aegean to afford her a place of rest, but all
feared too much the potent queen of heaven to assist her rival.
Delos alone consented to become the birthplace of the future
deities.  Delos was then a floating island; but when Latona
arrived there, Jupiter fastened it with adamantine chains to the
bottom of the sea, that it might be a secure resting place for
his beloved.  Byron alludes to Delos in his Don Juan:--

"The isles of Greece!  The isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!"


Epaphus was the son of Jupiter and Io.  Phaeton, child of the
Sun, was one day boasting to him of his high descent and of his
father Phoebus.  Epaphus could not bear it.  "Foolish fellow,"
said he "you believe your mother in all things, and you are
puffed up by your pride in a false father."  Phaeton went in rage
and shame and reported this to his mother, Clymene.  "If," said
he, "I am indeed of heavenly birth, give me, mother, some proof
of it, and establish my claim to the honor."  Clymene stretched
forth her hands towards the skies, and said, "I call to witness
the Sun which looks down upon us, that I have told you the truth.
If I speak falsely, let this be the last time I behold his light.
But it needs not much labor to go and inquire for yourself; the
land whence the sun rises lies next to ours.  Go and demand of
him whether he will own you as a son" Phaeton heard with delight.
He travelled to India, which lies directly in the regions of
sunrise; and, full of hope and pride, approached the goal whence
the Sun begins his course.

The palace of the Sun stood reared aloft on columns, glittering
with gold and precious stones, while polished ivory formed the
ceilings, and silver the doors.  The workmanship surpassed the
material; for upon the walls Vulcan had represented earth, sea
and skies, with their inhabitants.  In the sea were the nymphs,
some sporting in the waves, some riding on the backs of fishes,
while others sat upon the rocks and dried their sea-green hair.
Their faces were not all alike, nor yet unlike,   but such as
sisters' ought to be.  The earth had its towns and forests and
rivers and rustic divinities.  Over all was carved the likeness
of the glorious heaven; and on the silver doors the twelve signs
of the zodiac, six on each side.

Clymene's son advanced up the steep ascent, and entered the halls
of his disputed father.  He approached the paternal presence, but
stopped at a distance, for the light was more than he could bear.
Phoebus, arrayed in a purple vesture, sat on a throne which
glittered as with diamonds.  On his right hand and his left stood
the Day, the Month, and the Year, and, at regular intervals, the
Hours.  Spring stood with her head crowned with flowers, and
Summer, with garment cast aside, and a garland formed of spears
of ripened grain, and Autumn, with his feet stained with grape
juice, and icy Winter, with his hair stiffened with hoar frost.
Surrounded by these attendants, the Sun, with the eye that sees
every thing, beheld the youth dazzled with the novelty and
splendor of the scene, and inquired the purpose of his errand.
The youth replied, "Oh, light of the boundless world, Phoebus, my
father,   if you permit me to use that name,   give me some
proof, I beseech you, by which I may be known as yours."  He
ceased; and his father, laying aside the beams that shone all
around his head, bade him approach, and embracing him, said, "My
son, you deserve not to be disowned, and I confirm what your
mother has told you.  To put an end to your doubts, ask what you
will, the gift shall be yours.  I call to witness that dreadful
lake, which I never saw, but which we gods swear by in our most
solemn engagements."  Phaeton immediately asked to be permitted
for one day to drive the chariot of the sun.  The father repented
of his promise; thrice and four times he shook his radiant head
in warning.  "I have spoken rashly," said he; "only this request
I would fain deny.  I beg you to withdraw it.  It is not a safe
boon, nor one, my Phaeton, suited to your youth and strength.
Your lot is mortal, and you ask what is beyond a mortal's power.
In your ignorance you aspire to do that which not even the gods
themselves may do.  None but myself may drive the flaming car of
day; not even Jupiter, whose terrible right arm hurls the thunder
bolts.  The first part of the way is steep, and such as the
horses when fresh in the morning can hardly climb; the middle is
high up in the heavens, whence I myself can scarcely, without
alarm, look down and behold the earth and sea stretched beneath
me.  The last part of the road descends rapidly, and requires
most careful driving.  Tethys, who is waiting to receive me,
often trembles for me lest I should fall headlong.  Add to all
this, the heaven is all the time turning round and carrying the
stars with it.  I have to be perpetually on my guard lest that
movement, which sweeps everything else along, should hurry me
also away.  Suppose I should lend you the chariot, what would you
do?  Could you keep your course while the sphere was revolving
under you?  Perhaps you think that there are forests and cities,
the abodes of gods, and palaces and temples on the way.  On the
contrary, the road is through the midst of frightful monsters.
You pass by the horns of the Bull, in front of the Archer, and
near the Lion's jaws, and where the Scorpion stretches its arms
in one direction and the Crab in another.  Nor will you find it
easy to guide those horses, with their breasts full of fire which
they breathe forth from their mouths and nostrils.  I can
scarcely govern them myself, when they are unruly and resist the
reins.  Beware, my son, lest I should give you a fatal gift;
recall your request while yet you may.  Do you ask me for proof
that you are sprung from my blood?  I give you a proof in my
fears for you.  Look at my face,-- I would that you could look
into my breast, you would there see all a father's anxiety.
Finally," he continued, "look round the world and choose whatever
you will of what earth or sea contains most precious,   ask it
and fear no refusal.  This only I pray you not to urge.  It is
not honor, but destruction you seek.  Why do you hang round my
neck and still entreat me?  You shall have it if you persist,
the oath is sworn and must be kept,   but I beg you to choose
more wisely."

He ended; but the youth rejected all admonition, and held to his
demand.  So, having resisted as long as he could, Phoebus at last
led the way to where stood the lofty chariot.

It was of gold, the gift of Vulcan; the axle was of gold, the
pole and wheels of gold, the spokes of silver.  Along the seat
were rows of chrysolites and diamonds, which reflected all around
the brightness of the sun.  While the daring youth gazed in
admiration, the early Dawn threw open the purple doors of the
east, and showed the pathway strewn with roses.  The stars
withdrew, marshalled by the Daystar, which last of all retired
also.  The father, when he saw the earth beginning to glow, and
the Moon preparing to retire, ordered the Hours to harness up the
horses.  They obeyed, and led forth from the lofty stalls the
steeds full fed with ambrosia, and attached the reins.  Then the
father bathed the face of his son with a powerful unguent, and
made him capable of enduring the brightness of the flame.  He set
the rays on his head, and, with a foreboding sigh, said, "If, my
son, you will in this at least heed my advice, spare the whip and
hold tight the reins.  They go fast enough of their own accord;
the labor is to hold them in.  You are not to take the straight
road directly between the five circles, but turn off to the left.
Keep within the limit of the middle zone, and avoid the northern
and the southern alike.  You will see the marks of the wheels,
and they will serve to guide you.  And, that the skies and the
earth may each receive their due share of heat, go not too high,
or you will burn the heavenly dwellings, nor too low, or you will
set the earth on fire; the middle course is safest and best.  And
now I leave you to your chance, which I hope will plan better for
you than you have done for yourself.  Night is passing out of the
western gates and we can delay no longer.  Take the reins; but if
at last your heart fails you, and you will benefit by my advice,
stay where you are in safety, and suffer me to light and warm the
earth."  The agile youth sprang into the chariot, stood erect and
grasped the reins with delight, pouring out thanks to his
reluctant parent.

Meanwhile the horses fill the air with their snortings and fiery
breath, and stamp the ground impatient.  Now the bars are let
down, and the boundless plain of the universe lies open before
them.  They dart forward and cleave the opposing clouds, and
outrun the morning breezes which started from the same eastern
goal.  The steeds soon perceived that the load they drew was
lighter than usual; and as a ship without ballast is tossed
hither and thither on the sea, so the chariot, without its
accustomed weight, was dashed about as if empty.  They rush
headlong and leave the travelled road.  He is alarmed, and knows
not how to guide them; nor, if he knew, has he the power.  Then,
for the first time, the Great and Little Bear were scorched with
heat, and would fain, if it were possible, have plunged into the
water; and the Serpent which lies coiled up round the north pole,
torpid and harmless, grew warm, and with warmth felt its rage
revive.  Bootes, they say, fled away, though encumbered with his
plough, and all unused to rapid motion.

When hapless Phaeton looked down upon the earth, now spreading in
vast extent beneath him, he grew pale and his knees shook with
terror.  In spite of the glare all around him, the sight of his
eyes grew dim.  He wished he had never touched his father's
horses, never learned his parentage, never prevailed in his
request.  He is borne along like a vessel that flies before a
tempest, when the pilot can do no more and betakes himself to his
prayers.  What shall he do?  Much of the heavenly road is left
behind, but more remains before.  He turns his eyes from one
direction to the other; now to the goal whence he began his
course, now to the realms of sunset which he is not destined to
reach.  He loses his self-command, and knows not what to do,
whether to draw tight the reins or throw them loose; he forgets
the names of the horses.  He sees with terror the monstrous forms
scattered over the surface of heaven.  Here the Scorpion extended
his two great arms, with his tail and crooked claws stretching
over two signs of the zodiac.  When the boy beheld him, reeking
with poison and menacing with his fangs, his courage failed, and
the reins fell from his hands.  The horses, feeling the reins
loose on their backs, dashed headlong, and unrestrained went off
into unknown regions of the sky, in among the stars, hurling the
chariot over pathless places, now up in high heaven, now down
almost to the earth.  The moon saw with astonishment her
brother's chariot running beneath her own.  The clouds begin to
smoke, and the mountain tops take fire; the fields are parched
with heat, the plants wither, the trees with their leafy branches
burn, the harvest is ablaze!  But these are small things.  Great
cities perished, with their walls and towers; whole nations with
their people were consumed to ashes!  The forest-clad mountains
burned, Athos and Taurus and Tmolus and OEte; Ida, once
celebrated for fountains, but now all dry; the Muses' mountain
Helicon, and Haemus; AEtna, with fires within and without, and
Parnassus, with his two peaks, and Rhodope, forced at last to
part with his snowy crown.  Her cold climate was no protection to
Scythia, Caucasus burned, and Ossa and Pindus, and, greater than
both, Olympus; the Alps high in air, and the Apennines crowned
with clouds.

Then Phaeton beheld the world on fire, and felt the heat
intolerable.  The air he breathed was like the air of a furnace
and full of burning ashes, and the smoke was of a pitchy
darkness.  He dashed forward he knew not whither.  Then, it is
believed, the people of AEthiopia became black by the blood being
forced so suddenly to the surface, and the Libyan desert was
dried up to the condition in which it remains to this day.  The
Nymphs of the fountains, with dishevelled hair, mourned their
waters, nor were the rivers safe beneath their banks; Tanais
smoked, and Caicus, Xanthus and Meander.  Babylonian Euphrates
and Ganges, Tagus with golden sands, and Caijster where the swans
resort.  Nile fled away and hid his head in the desert, and there
it still remains concealed.  Where he used to discharge his
waters through seven mouths into the sea, there seven dry
channels alone remained.  The earth cracked open, and through the
chinks light broke into Tartarus, and frightened the king of
shadows and his queen.  The sea shrank up.  Where before was
water, it became a dry plain; and the mountains that lie beneath
the waves lifted up their heads and became islands.  The fishes
sought the lowest depths, and the dolphins no longer ventured as
usual to sport on the surface.  Even Nereus, and his wife Doris,
with the Nereids, their daughters, sought the deepest caves for
refuge.  Thrice Neptune essayed to raise his head above the
surface and thrice was driven back by the heat.  Earth,
surrounded as she was by waters, yet with head and shoulders
bare, screening her face with her hand, looked up to heaven, and
with a husky voice called on Jupiter.

"O ruler of the gods, if I have deserved this treatment, and it
is your will that I perish with fire, why withhold your
thunderbolts?  Let me at least fall by your hand.  Is this the
reward of my fertility, of my obedient service?  Is it for this
that I have supplied herbage for cattle, and fruits for men, and
frankincense for your altars?  But if I am unworthy of regard,
what has my brother Ocean done to deserve such a fate?  If
neither of us can excite your pity, think, I pray you, of your
own heaven, and behold how both the poles are smoking which
sustain your palace, which must fall if they be destroyed.  Atlas
faints, and scarce holds up his burden.  If sea, earth, and
heaven perish, we fall into ancient Chaos.  Save what yet remains
to us from the devouring flame.  Oh, take thought for our
deliverance in this awful moment!"

Thus spoke Earth, and overcome with heat and thirst, could say no
more.  Then Jupiter Omnipotent, calling to witness all the gods,
including him who had lent the chariot, and showing them that all
was lost unless some speedy remedy were applied, mounted the
lofty tower from whence he diffuses clouds over the earth, and
hurls the forked lightnings.  But at that time not a cloud was to
be found to interpose for a screen to earth, nor was a shower
remaining unexhausted.  He thundered, and brandishing a
lightning-bolt in his right hand launched it against the
charioteer, and struck him at the same moment from his seat and
from existence!  Phaeton, with his hair on fire, fell headlong,
like a shooting star which marks the heavens with its brightness
as it falls, and Eridanus, the great river, received him and
cooled his burning frame.  The Italian Naiads reared a tomb for
him, and inscribed these words upon the stone:

"Driver of Phoebus' chariot, Phaeton,
Struck by Jove's thunder, rests beneath this stone.
He could not rule his father's car of fire,
Yet was it much so nobly to aspire."

His sisters, the Heliades, as they lamented his fate were turned
into poplar trees, on the banks of the river, and their tears,
which continued to flow, became amber as they dropped into the

One of Prior's best remembered poems is that on the Female
Phaeton, from which we quote the last verse.

Kitty has been imploring her mother to allow her to go out into
the world as her friends have done, if only for once.

"Fondness prevailed, mamma gave way;
Kitty, at heart's desire,
Obtained the chariot for a day,
And set the world on fire."

Milman, in his poem of Samor, makes the following allusion to
Phaeton's story:--

"As when the palsied universe aghast
Lay .... mute and still,
When drove, so poets sing, the sun-born youth
Devious through Heaven's affrighted signs his sire's
Ill-granted chariot.  Him the Thunderer hurled
>From th'empyrean headlong to the gulf
Of the half-parched Eridanus, where weep
Even now the sister trees their amber tears
O'er Phaeton untimely dead."

In the beautiful lines of Walter Savage Lando describing the sea-
shell, there is an allusion to the sun's palace and chariot.  The
water-nymph says,

"  I have sinuous shells of pearly hue
Within, and things that lustre have imbibed
In the sun's palace porch, where when unyoked
His chariot-wheel stands midway in the wave.
Shake one and it awakens; then apply
Its polished lip to your attentive car,
And it remembers its August abodes,
And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there."
Gebir, Book 1

Chapter IV
Midas. Baucis and Philemon. Pluto and Proserpine.

Bacchus, on a certain occasion, found his old school master and
foster father, Silenus, missing.  The old man had been drinking,
and in that state had wandered away, and was found by some
peasants, who carried him to their king, Midas.  Midas recognized
him, and treated him hospitably, entertaining him for ten days
and nights with an unceasing round of jollity.  On the eleventh
day he brought Silenus back, and restored him in safety to his
pupil.  Whereupon Bacchus offered Midas his choice of whatever
reward he might wish.  He asked that whatever he might touch
should be changed into GOLD.  Bacchus consented, though sorry
that he had not made a better choice.  Midas went his way,
rejoicing in his newly acquired power, which he hastened to put
to the test.  He could scarce believe his eyes when he found that
a twig of an oak, which he plucked from the branch, became gold
in his hand.  He took up a stone   it changed to gold.  He
touched a sod   it did the same.  He took an apple from the tree
  you would have thought he had robbed the garden of the
Hesperides.  His joy knew no bounds, and as soon as he got home,
he ordered the servants to set a splendid repast on the table.
Then he found to his dismay that whether he touched bread, it
hardened in his hand; or put a morsel to his lips, it defied his
teeth.  He took a glass of wine, but it flowed down his throat
like melted gold.

In consternation at the unprecedented affliction, he strove to
divest himself of his power; he hated the gift he had lately
coveted.  But all in vain; starvation seemed to await him.  He
raised his arms, all shining with gold, in prayer to Bacchus,
begging to be delivered from his glittering destruction.
Bacchus, merciful deity, heard and consented.  "Go," said he, "to
the river Pactolus, trace the stream to its fountain-head, there
plunge in your head and body and wash away your fault and its
punishment."  He did so, and scarce had he touched the waters
before the gold-creating power passed into them, and the river
sands became changed into GOLD, as they remain to this day.

Thenceforth Midas, hating wealth and splendor, dwelt in the
country, and became a worshipper of Pan, the god of the fields.
On a certain occasion Pan had the temerity to compare his music
with that of Apollo, and to challenge the god of the lyre to a
trial of skill.  The challenge was accepted, and Tmolus, the
mountain-god, was chosen umpire.  Tmolus took his seat and
cleared away the trees from his ears to listen.  At a given
signal Pan blew on his pipes, and with his rustic melody gave
great satisfaction to himself and his faithful follower, Midas,
who happened to be present.  Then Tmolus turned his head toward
the sun-god, and all his trees turned with him.  Apollo rose, his
brow wreathed with Parnassian laurel, while his robe of Tyrian
purple swept the ground.  In his left hand he held the lyre, and
with his right hand struck the strings.  Ravished with the
harmony, Tmolus at once awarded the victory to the god of the
lyre, and all but Midas acquiesced in the judgment.  He
dissented, and questioned the justice of the award.  Apollo would
not suffer such a depraved pair of ears any longer to wear the
human form, but caused them to increase in length, grow hairy,
within and without, and to become movable, on their roots; in
short, to be on the perfect pattern of those of an ass.

Mortified enough was King Midas at this mishap; but he consoled
himself with the thought that it was possible to hide his
misfortune, which he attempted to do by means of an ample turban
or headdress.  But his hairdresser of course knew the secret.  He
was charged not to mention it, and threatened with dire
punishment if he presumed to disobey.  But he found it too much
for his discretion to keep such a secret; so he went out into the
meadow, dug a hole in the ground, and stooping down, whispered
the story, and covered it up. Before long a thick bed of reeds
sprang up in the meadow, and as soon as it had gained its growth,
began whispering the story, and has continued to do so, from that
day to this, with every breeze which passes over the place.

The story of King Midas has been told by others with some
variations.  Dryden, in the Wife of Bath's Tale, makes Midas'
queen the betrayer of the secret.

"This Midas knew, and durst communicate
To none but to his wife his ears of state."

Midas was king of Phrygia.  He was the son of Gordius, a poor
countryman, who was taken by the people and made king, in
obedience to the command of the oracle, which had said that their
future king should come in a wagon.  While the people were
deliberating, Gordius with his wife and son came driving his
wagon into the public square.

Gordius, being made king, dedicated his wagon to the deity of the
oracle, and tied it up in its place with a fast knot.  This was
the celebrated GORDIAN KNOT, of which, in after times it was
said, that whoever should untie it should become lord of all
Asia.  Many tried to untie it, but none succeeded, till Alexander
the Great, in his career of conquest, came to Phrygia.  He tried
his skill with as ill success as the others, till growing
impatient he drew his sword and cut the knot.  When he afterwards
succeeded in subjecting all Asia to his sway, people began to
think that he had complied with the terms of the oracle according
to its true meaning.


On a certain hill in Phrygia stand a linden tree and an oak,
enclosed by a low wall.  Not far from the spot is a marsh,
formerly good habitable land, but now indented with pools, the
resort of fen-birds and cormorants.  Once on a time, Jupiter, in
human shape, visited this country, and with him his son Mercury
(he of the caduceus), without his wings.  They presented
themselves at many a door as weary travellers, seeking rest and
shelter, but found all closed, for it was late, and the
inhospitable inhabitants would not rouse themselves to open for
their reception.  At last a humble mansion received them, a small
thatched cottage, where Baucis, a pious old dame, and her husband
Philemon, united when young, had grown old together.  Not ashamed
of their poverty, they made it endurable by moderate desires and
kind dispositions.  One need not look there for master or for
servant; they two were the whole household, master and servant
alike.  When the two heavenly guests crossed the humble
threshold, and bowed their heads to pass under the low door, the
old man placed a seat, on which Baucis, bustling and attentive,
spread a cloth, and begged them to sit down.  Then she raked out
the coals from the ashes, kindled up a fire, and fed it with
leaves and dry bark, and with her scanty breath blew it into a
flame.  She brought out of a corner split sticks and dry
branches, broke them up, and placed them under the small kettle.
Her husband collected some pot-herbs in the garden, and she shred
them from the stalks, and prepared them for the pot He reached
down with a forked stick a flitch of bacon hanging in the
chimney, cut a small piece, and put it in the pot to boil with
the herbs, setting away the rest for another time.  A beechen
bowl was filled with warm water that their guests might wash.
While all was doing they beguiled the time with conversation.

On the bench designed for the guests was laid a cushion stuffed
with sea-weed; and a cloth, only produced on great occasions, but
old and coarse enough, was spread over that.  The old woman, with
her apron on, with trembling hand set the table.  One leg was
shorter than the rest, but a shell put under restored the level.
When fixed, she rubbed the table down with some sweet-smelling
herbs.  Upon it she set some olives, Minerva's-fruit, some
cornel-berries preserved in vinegar, and added radishes and
cheese, with eggs lightly cooked in the ashes.  All were served
in earthen dishes, and an earthenware pitcher, with wooden cups,
stood beside them.  When all was ready, the stew, smoking hot,
was set on the table.  Some wine, not of the oldest, was added;
and for dessert, apples and wild honey; and over and above all,
friendly faces, and simple but hearty welcome.

Now while the repast proceeded, the old folks were astonished to
see that the wine, as fast as it was poured out, renewed itself
in the pitcher, of its own accord.  Struck with terror, Baucis
and Philemon recognized their heavenly guests, fell on their
knees, and with clasped hands implored forgiveness for their poor
entertainment.  There was an old goose, which they kept as the
guardian of their humble cottage; and they bethought them to make
this a sacrifice in honor of their guests.  But the goose, too
nimble for the old folks, eluded their pursuit with the aid of
feet and wings, and at last took shelter between the gods
themselves.  They forbade it to be slain; and spoke in these
words: "We are gods.  This inhospitable village shall pay the
penalty of its impiety; you alone shall go free from the
chastisement.  Quit your house, and come with us to the top of
yonder hill."  They hastened to obey, and staff in hand, labored
up the steep ascent. They had come within an arrow's flight of
the top, when turning their eyes below, they beheld all the
country sunk in a lake, only their own house left standing.
While they gazed with wonder at the sight, and lamented the fate
of their neighbors, that old house of theirs was changed into a
TEMPLE.  Columns took the place of the corner-posts, the thatch
grew yellow and appeared a gilded roof, the floors became marble,
the doors were enriched with carving and ornaments of gold.  Then
spoke Jupiter in benignant accents: "Excellent old man, and woman
worthy of such a husband, speak, tell us your wishes; what favor
have you to ask of us?"  Philemon took counsel with Baucis a few
moments; then declared to the gods their united wish.  "We ask to
be priests and guardians of this your temple; and since here we
have passed our lives in love and concord, we wish that one and
the same hour may take us both from life, that I may not live to
see her grave, nor be laid in my own by her."  Their prayer was
granted.  They were the keepers of the temple as long as they
lived.  When grown very old, as they stood one day before the
steps of the sacred edifice, and were telling the story of the
place, Baucis saw Philemon begin to put forth leaves, and old
Philemon saw Baucis changing in like manner.  And now a leafy
crown had grown over their heads, while exchanging parting words,
as long as they could speak.  "Farewell, dear spouse," they said,
together, and at the same moment the bark closed over their
mouths.  The Tyanean shepherd long showed the two trees, standing
side by side, made out of the two good old people.

The story of Baucis and Philemon has been imitated by Swift, in a
burlesque style, the actors in the change being two wandering
saints and the house being changed into a church, of which
Philemon is made the parson The following may serve as a

"They scarce had spoke when, fair and soft,
The roof began to mount aloft;
Aloft rose every beam and rafter;
The heavy wall climbed slowly after.
The chimney widened and grew higher,
Became a steeple with a spire.
The kettle to the top was hoist,
And there stood fastened to a joist,
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for below;
In vain, for a superior force,
Applied at bottom, stops its course;
Doomed ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a bell.
A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increased by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more,
The number made the motion slower;
The flier, though 't had leaden feet,
Turned round so quick you scarce could see 't:
But slackened by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near allied,
Had never left each other's side.
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But up against the steeple reared,
Became a clock, and still adhered;
And still its love to household cares
By a shrill voice at noon declares.
Warning the cook-maid not to burn
That roast meat which it cannot turn.
The groaning chair began to crawl,
Like a huge snail, along the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And, with small change, a pulpit grew.
A bedstead of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphosed into pews,
Which still their ancient nature keep
By lodging folks disposed to sleep."


Under the island of Aetna lies Typhoeus the Titan, in punishment
for his share in the rebellion of the giants against Jupiter.
Two mountains press down   the one his right and the other his
left hand   while Aetna lies over his head.  As Typhoeus moves,
the earth shakes; as he breathes, smoke and ashes come up from
Aetna.  Pluto is terrified at the rocking of the earth, and fears
that his kingdom will be laid open to the light of day.  He
mounts his chariot with the four black horses and comes up to
earth and looks around.  While he is thus engaged, Venus, sitting
on Mount Eryx playing with her boy Cupid, sees him and says: "My
son, take your darts with which you conquer all, even Jove
himself, and send one into the breast of yonder dark monarch, who
rules the realm of Tartarus.  Why should he alone escape?  Seize
the opportunity to extend your empire and mine.  Do you not see
that even in heaven some despise our power?  Minerva the wise,
and Diana the huntress, defy us; and there is that daughter of
Ceres, who threatens to follow their example.  Now do you, if you
have any regard for your own interest or mine, join these two in
one."  The boy unbound his quiver, and selected his sharpest and
truest arrow; then, straining the bow against his knee, he
attached the string, and, having made ready, shot the arrow with
its barbed point right into the heart of Pluto.

In the vale of Enna there is a lake embowered in woods, which
screen it from the fervid rays of the sun, while the moist ground
is covered with flowers, and spring reigns perpetual.  Here
Proserpine was playing with her companions, gathering lilies and
violets, and filling her basket and her apron with them, when
Pluto saw her from his chariot, loved her, and carried her off.
She screamed for help to her mother and her companions; and when
in her fright she dropped the corners of her apron and let the
flowers fall, childlike, she felt the loss of them as an addition
to her grief.  The ravisher urged on his steeds, calling them
each by name, and throwing loose over their heads and necks his
iron-colored reins.  When he reached the River Cyane, and it
opposed his passage, he struck the river bank with his trident,
and the earth opened and gave him a passage to Tartarus.

Ceres sought her daughter all the world over.  Bright-haired
Aurora, when she came forth in the morning, and Hesperus, when he
led out the stars in the evening, found her still busy in the
search.  But it was all unavailing.  At length, weary and sad,
she sat down upon a stone and continued sitting nine days and
nights, in the open air, under the sunlight and moonlight and
falling showers.  It was where now stands the city of Eleusis,
then the home of an old man named Celeus.  He was out in the
field, gathering acorns and blackberries, and sticks for his
fire.  His little girl was driving home their two goats, and as
she passed the goddess, who appeared in the guise of an old
woman, she said to her, "Mother," and the name was sweet to the
ears of Ceres, "why do you sit here alone upon the rocks?"  The
old man also stopped, though his load was heavy, and begged her
to come into his cottage, such as it was.  She declined, and he
urged her.  "Go in peace," she replied, "and be happy in your
daughter; I have lost mine."  As she spoke, tears   or something
like tears, for the gods never weep   fell down her cheeks upon
her bosom.  The compassionate old man and his child wept with
her.  Then said he, "Come with us, and despise not our humble
roof; so may your daughter be restored to you in safety."  "Lead
on," said she, "I cannot resist that appeal!"  So she rose from
the stone and went with them.  As they walked he told her that
his only son, a little boy, lay very sick, feverish and
sleepless.  She stooped and gathered some poppies.  As they
entered the cottage they found all in great distress, for the boy
seemed past hope of recovery.  Metanira, his mother, received her
kindly, and the goddess stooped and kissed the lips of the sick
child.  Instantly the paleness left his face, and healthy vigor
returned to his body.  The whole family were delighted   that is,
the father, mother, and little girl, for they were all; they had
no servants. They spread the table, and put upon it curds and
cream, apples, and honey in the comb.  While they ate, Ceres
mingled poppy juice in the milk of the boy.  When night came and
all was still, she arose, and taking the sleeping boy, moulded
his limbs with her hands, and uttered over him three times a
solemn charm, then went and laid him in the ashes.  His mother,
who had been watching what her guest was doing, sprang forward
with a cry and snatched the child from the fire.  Then Ceres
assumed her own form, and a divine splendor shone all around.
While they were overcome with astonishment, she said, "Mother,
you have been cruel in your fondness to your son.  I would have
made him immortal, but you have frustrated my attempt.
Nevertheless, he shall be great and useful.  He shall teach men
the use of the plough, and the rewards which labor can win from
the cultivated soil."  So saying, she wrapped a cloud about her,
and mounting her chariot rode away.

Ceres continued her search for her daughter, passing from land to
land, and across seas and rivers, till at length she returned to
Sicily, whence she at first set out, and stood by the banks of
the River Cyane, where Pluto made himself a passage with his
prize to his own dominions.

The river-nymph would have told the goddess all she had
witnessed, but dared not, for fear of Pluto; so she only ventured
to take up the girdle which Proserpine had dropped in her flight,
and waft it to the feet of the mother.  Ceres, seeing this, was
no longer in doubt of her loss, but she did not yet know the
cause, and laid the blame on the innocent land.  "Ungrateful
soil," said she, "which I have endowed with fertility and clothed
with herbage and nourishing grain, No more shall you enjoy my
favors" Then the cattle died, the plough broke in the furrow, the
seed failed to come up; there was too much sun, there was too
much rain; the birds stole the seeds,   thistles and brambles
were the only growth.  Seeing this, the fountain Arethusa
interceded for the land.  "Goddess," said she, "blame not the
land; it opened unwillingly to yield a passage to your daughter.
I can tell you of her fate, for I have seen her.  This is not my
native country; I came hither from Elis.  I was a woodland nymph,
and delighted in the chase.  They praised my beauty, but I cared
nothing for it, and rather boasted of my hunting exploits.  One
day I was returning from the wood, heated with exercise, when I
came to a stream silently flowing, so clear that you might count
the pebbles on the bottom.  The willows shaded it, and the grassy
bank sloped down to the water's edge.  I approached, I touched
the water with my foot.  I stepped in knee-deep, and not content
with that, I laid my garments on the willows and went in.  While
I sported in the water, I heard an indistinct murmur coming up as
out of the depths of the stream; and made haste to escape to the
nearest bank.  The voice said, 'Why do you fly, Arethusa?  I am
Alpheus, the god of this stream.'  I ran, he pursued; he was not
more swift than I, but he was stronger, and gained upon me, as my
strength failed.  At last, exhausted, I cried for help to Diana.
'Help me, goddess!  Help your votary!'  The goddess heard, and
wrapped me suddenly in a thick cloud.  The river-god looked now
this way and now that, and twice came close to me, but could not
find me.  'Arethusa!  Arethusa!' he cried.  Oh, how I trembled,
like a lamb that hears the wolf growling outside the fold.  A
cold sweat came over me, my hair flowed down in streams; where my
foot stood there was a pool.  In short, in less time than it
takes to tell it I became a fountain.  But in this form Alpheus
knew me, and attempted to mingle his stream with mine.  Diana
cleft the ground, and I, endeavoring to escape him, plunged into
the cavern, and through the bowels of the earth came out here in
Sicily.  While I passed through the lower parts of the earth, I
saw your Proserpine.  She was sad, but no longer showing alarm in
her countenance.  Her look was such as became a queen,   the
queen of Erebus; the powerful bride of the monarch of the realms
of the dead."

When Ceres heard this, she stood for a while like one stupefied;
then turned her chariot towards heaven, and hastened to present
herself before the throne of Jove.  She told the story of her
bereavement, and implored Jupiter to interfere to procure the
restitution of her daughter.  Jupiter consented on one condition,
namely, that Proserpine should not during her stay in the lower
world have taken any food; otherwise, the Fates forbade her
release.  Accordingly, Mercury was sent, accompanied by Spring,
to demand Proserpine of Pluto.  The wily monarch consented; but
alas! the maiden had taken a pomegranate which Pluto offered her,
and had sucked the sweet pulp from a few of the seeds.  This was
enough to prevent her complete release; but a compromise was
made, by which she was to pass half the time with her mother, and
the rest with her husband Pluto.

Ceres allowed herself to be pacified with this arrangement, and
restored the earth to her favor.  Now she remembered Celeus and
his family, and her promise to his infant son Triptolemus.  When
the boy grew up, she taught him the use of the plough, and how to
sow the seed.  She took him in her chariot, drawn by winged
dragons, through all the countries of the earth, imparting to
mankind valuable grains, and the knowledge of agriculture.  After
his return, Triptolemus build a magnificent temple to Ceres in
Eleusis, and established the worship of the goddess, under the
name of the Eleusinian mysteries, which, in the splendor and
solemnity of their observance, surpassed all other religious
celebrations among the Greeks.

There can be little doubt but that this story of Ceres and
Proserpine is an allegory.  Proserpine signifies the seed-corn,
which, when cast into the ground, lies there concealed,   that
is, she is carried off by the god of the underworld; it
reappears,   that is, Proserpine is restored to her mother.
Spring leads her back to the light of day.

Milton alludes to the story of Proserpine in Paradise lost, Book

"Not that fair field
Of Enna where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis (a name for Pluto)
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world,
. . . . might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive."

Hood, in his Ode to Melancholy, uses the same allusion very

"Forgive, if somewhile I forget,
In woe to come the present bliss;
As frightened Proserpine let fall
Her flowers at the sight of Dis."

The River Alpheus does in fact disappear under ground, in part of
its course, finding its way through subterranean channels, till
it again appears on the surface.  It was said that the Sicilian
fountain Arethusa was the same stream, which, after passing under
the sea, came up again in Sicily.  Hence the story ran that a cup
thrown into the Alpheus appeared again in Arethusa.  It is this
fable of the underground course of Alpheus that Coleridge alludes
to in his poem of Kubla Khan:

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea."

In one of Moore's juvenile poems he alludes to the same story,
and to the practice of throwing garlands, or other light objects
on the stream to be carried downward by it, and afterwards thrown
out when the river comes again to light.

"Oh, my beloved, how divinely sweet
Is the pure joy when kindred spirits meet!
Like him the river-god, whose waters flow,
With love their only light, through caves below,
Wafting in triumph all the flowery braids
And festal rings, with which Olympic maids
Have decked his current, as an offering meet
To lay at Arethusa's shining feet.
Think, when he meets at last his fountain bride,
What perfect love must thrill the blended tide!
Each lost in each, till mingling into one,
Their lot the same for shadow or for sun,
A type of true love, to the deep they run."

The following extract from Moore's Rhymes on the Road gives an
account of a celebrated picture by Albano at Milan, called a
Dance of Loves:

"'Tis for the theft of Enna's flower from earth
These urchins celebrate their dance of mirth,
Round the green tree, like fays upon a heath,
Those that are nearest linked in order bright,
Cheek after cheek, like rosebuds in a wreath;
And those more distant showing from beneath
The others' wings their little eyes of light.
While see! Among the clouds, their eldest brother,
But just flown up, tells with a smile of bliss,
This prank of Pluto to his charmed mother,
Who turns to greet the tidings with a kiss."


Glaucus was a fisherman.  One day he had drawn his nets to land,
and had taken a great many fishes of various kinds.  So he
emptied his net, and proceeded to sort the fishes on the grass.
The place where he stood was a beautiful island in the river, a
solitary spot, uninhabited, and not used for pasturage of cattle,
nor ever visited by any but himself.  On a sudden, the fishes,
which had been laid on the grass, began to revive and move their
fins as if they were in the water; and while he looked on
astonished, they one and all moved off to the water, plunged in
and swam away.  He did not know what to make of this, whether
some god had done it, or some secret power in the herbage.  "What
herb has such a power?" he exclaimed; and gathering some, he
tasted it.  Scarce had the juices of the plant reached his palate
when he found himself agitated with a longing desire for the
water.  He could no longer restrain himself, but bidding farewell
to earth, he plunged into the stream.  The gods of the water
received him graciously, and admitted him to the honor of their
society.  They obtained the consent of Oceanus and Tethys, the
sovereigns of the sea, that all that was mortal in him should be
washed away.  A hundred rivers poured their waters over him .
Then he lost all sense of his former nature and all
consciousness.  When he recovered, he found himself changed in
form and mind.  His hair was sea-green, and trailed behind him on
the water; his shoulders grew broad, and what had been thighs and
legs assumed the form of a fish's tail.  The sea-gods
complimented him on the change of his appearance, and he himself
was pleased with his looks.

One day Glaucus saw the beautiful maiden Scylla, the favorite of
the water-nymphs, rambling on the shore, and when she had found a
sheltered nook, laving her limbs in the clear water.  He fell in
love with her, and showing himself on the surface, spoke to her,
saying such things as he thought most likely to win her to stay;
for she turned to run immediately on sight of him and ran till
she had gained a cliff overlooking the sea.  Here she stopped and
turned round to see whether it was a god or a sea-animal, and
observed with wonder his shape and color.  Glaucus, partly
emerging from the water, and supporting himself against a rock,
said, "Maiden, I am no monster, nor a sea-animal, but a god; and
neither Proteus nor Triton ranks higher than I.  Once I was a
mortal, and followed the sea for a living; but now I belong
wholly to it."  Then he told the story of his metamorphosis and
how he had been promoted to his present dignity, and added, "But
what avails all this if it fails to move your heart?"  He was
going on in this strain, but Scylla turned and hastened away.

Glaucus was in despair, but it occurred to him to consult the
enchantress, Circe.  Accordingly he repaired to her island,   the
same where afterwards Ulysses landed, as we shall see in another
story.  After mutual salutations, he said, "Goddess, I entreat
your pity; you alone can relieve the pain I suffer.  The power of
herbs I know as well as any one, for it is to them I owe my
change of form I love Scylla.  I am ashamed to tell you how I
have sued and promised to her, and how scornfully she has treated
me.  I beseech you to use your incantations, or potent herbs, if
they are more prevailing, not to cure me of my love,   for that I
do not wish,   but to make her share it and yield me a like
return."  To which Circe replied, for she was not insensible to
the attractions of the sea-green deity, "You had better pursue a
willing object; you are worthy to be sought, instead of having to
seek in vain.  Be not diffident, know your own worth.  I protest
to you that even I, goddess though I be, and learned in the
virtues of plants and spells, should not know how to refuse you
If she scorns you, scorn her; meet one who is ready to meet you
half way, and thus make a due return to both at once."  To these
words Glaucus replied, "Sooner shall trees grow at the bottom of
the ocean, and seaweed on the top of the mountains, than I will
cease to love Scylla, and her alone."

The goddess was indignant, but she could not punish him, neither
did she wish to do so, for she liked him too well; so she turned
all her wrath against her rival, poor Scylla.  She took plants of
poisonous powers and mixed them together, with incantations and
charms.  Then she passed through the crowd of gambolling beasts,
the victims of her art, and proceeded to the coast of Sicily,
where Scylla lived.  There was a little bay on the shore to which
Scylla used to resort, in the heat of the day, to breathe the air
of the sea, and to bathe in its waters.  Here the goddess poured
her poisonous mixture, and muttered over it incantations of
mighty power.  Scylla came as usual and plunged into the water up
to her waist.  What was her horror to perceive a brood of
serpents and barking monsters surrounding her!  At first she
could not imagine they were a part of herself, and tried to run
from them, and to drive them away; but as she ran she carried
them with her, and when she tried to touch her limbs, she found
her hands touch only the yawning jaws of monsters.  Scylla
remained rooted to the spot.  Her temper grew as ugly as her
form, and she took pleasure in devouring hapless mariners who
came within her grasp.  Thus she destroyed six of the companions
of Ulysses, and tried to wreck the ships of Aeneas, till at last
she was turned into a rock, and as such still continues to be a
terror to mariners.

The following is Glaucus's account of his feelings after his

"I plunged for life or death.  To interknit
One's senses with so dense a breathing stuff
Might seem a work of pain; so not enough
Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt,
And buoyant round my limbs.  At first I dwelt
Whole days and days in sheer astonishment;
Forgetful utterly of self-9ntent,
Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow.
Then like a new-fledged bird that first doth show
His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill,
I tried in fear the pinions of my well.
"Twas freedom!  And at once I visited
The ceaseless wonders of this ocean-bed."

Chapter V
Pygmalion.   Dryope.   Venus and Adonis.   Apollo and Hyacinthus.
  Ceyx and Halcyone.

Pygmalion saw so much to blame in women that he came at last to
abhor the sex, and resolved to live unmarried.  He was a
sculptor, and had made with wonderful skill a statue of ivory, so
beautiful that no living woman could be compared to it in beauty.
It was indeed the perfect semblance of a maiden that seemed to be
alive, and only prevented from moving by modesty.  His art was so
perfect that it concealed itself, and its product looked like the
workmanship of nature.  Pygmalion admired his own work, and at
last fell in love with the counterfeit creation.  Oftentimes he
laid his hand upon it, as if to assure himself whether it were
living or not, and could not even then believe that it was only
ivory.  He caressed it, and gave it presents such as young girls
love,   bright shells and polished stones, little birds and
flowers of various hues, beads and amber.  He put raiment on its
limbs, and jewels on its fingers, and a necklace about its neck.
To the ears he hung earrings and strings of pearls upon the
breast.  Her dress became her, and she looked not less charming
than when unattired.  He laid her on a couch spread with cloths
of Tyrian dye, and called her his wife, and put her head upon a
pillow of the softest feathers, as if she could enjoy their

The festival of Venus was at hand,   a festival celebrated with
great pomp at Cyprus.  Victims were offered, the altars smoked,
and the odor of incense filled the air.  When Pygmalion had
performed his part in the solemnities, he stood before the altar
and timidly said, "Ye gods, who can do all things, give me, I
pray you, for my wife"   he dared not say "my ivory virgin," but
said instead   "one like my ivory virgin."  Venus, who was
present at the festival, heard him and knew the thought he would
have uttered; and, as an omen of her favor, caused the flame on
the altar to shoot up thrice in a fiery point into the air.  When
he returned home, he went to see his statue, and, leaning over
the couch, gave a kiss to the mouth.  It seemed to be warm.  He
pressed its lips again, he laid his hand upon the limbs; the
ivory felt soft to his touch, and yielded to his fingers like the
wax of Hymettus.  While he stands astonished and glad, though
doubting, and fears he may be mistaken, again and again with a
lover's ardor he touches the object of his hopes.  It was indeed
alive!  The veins when pressed yielded to the finger and then
resumed their roundness.  Then at last the votary of Venus found
words to thank the goddess, and pressed his lips upon lips as
real as his own.  The virgin felt the kisses and blushed, and,
opening her timid eyes to the light, fixed them at the same
moment on her lover.  Venus blessed the nuptials she had formed,
and from this union Paphos was born, from whom the city, sacred
to Venus, received its name.

Schiller, in his poem, the Ideals, applies this tale of Pygmalion
to the love of nature in a youthful heart.  In Schiller's
version, as in William Morris's, the statue is of marble.

"As once with prayers in passion flowing,
Pygmalion embraced the stone,
Till from the frozen marble glowing,
The light of feeling o'er him shone,
So did I clasp with young devotion
Bright Nature to a poet's heart;
Till breath and warmth and vital motion
Seemed through the statue form to dart.

"And then in all my ardor sharing,
The silent form expression found;
Returned my kiss of youthful daring,
And understood my heart's quick sound.
Then lived for me the bright creation.
The silver rill with song was rife;
The trees, the roses shared sensation,
An echo of my boundless life."
Rev. A. G. Bulfinch (brother of the author).

Morris tells the story of Pygmalion and the Image in some of the
most beautiful verses of the Earthly Paradise.

This is Galatea's description of her metamorphosis:

"'My sweet,' she said, 'as yet I am not wise,
Or stored with words aright the tale to tell,
But listen: when I opened first mine eyes
I stood within the niche thou knowest well,
And from my hand a heavy thing there fell
Carved like these flowers, nor could I see things clear,
But with a strange confused noise could hear.

"'At last mine eyes could see a woman fair,
But awful as this round white moon o'erhead,
So that I trembled when I saw her there,
For with my life was born some touch of dread,
And therewithal I heard her voice that said,
"Come down and learn to love and be alive,
For thee, a well-prized gift, today I give."'"


Dryope and Iole were sisters.  The former was the wife of
Andraemon, beloved by her husband, and happy in the birth of her
first child.  One day the sisters strolled to the bank of a
stream that sloped gradually down to the water's edge, while the
upland was overgrown with myrtles.  They were intending to gather
flowers for forming garlands for the altars of the nymphs, and
Dryope carried her child at her bosom, a precious burden, and
nursed him as she walked.  Near the water grew a lotus plant,
full of purple flowers.  Dryope gathered some and offered them to
the baby, and Iole was about to do the same, when she perceived
blood dropping from the places where her sister had broken them
off the stem.  The plant was no other than the Nymph Lotis, who,
running from a base pursuer, had been changed into this form.
This they learned from the country people when it was too late.

Dryope, horror-struck when she perceived what she had done, would
gladly have hastened from the spot, but found her feet rooted to
the ground.  She tried to pull them away, but moved nothing but
her arms.  The woodiness crept upward, and by degrees invested
her body.  In anguish she attempted to tear her hair, but found
her hands filled with leaves.  The infant felt his mother's bosom
begin to harden, and the milk cease to flow.  Iole looked on at
the sad fate of her sister, and could render no assistance.  She
embraced the growing trunk, as if she would hold back the
advancing wood, and would gladly have been enveloped in the same
bark.  At this moment Andraemon, the husband of Dryope, with her
father, approached; and when they asked for Dryope, Iole pointed
them to the new-formed lotus.  They embraced the trunk of the yet
warm tree, and showered their kisses on its leaves.

Now there was nothing left of Dryope but her face.  Her tears
still flowed and fell on her leaves, and while she could she
spoke.  "I am not guilty.  I deserve not this fate.  I have
injured no one.  If I speak falsely, may my foliage perish with
drought and my trunk be cut down and burned.  Take this infant
and give him to a nurse.  Let him often be brought and nursed
under my branches, and play in my shade; and when he is old
enough to talk, let him be taught to call me mother, and to say
with sadness, 'My mother lies hid under this bark' But bid him be
careful of river banks, and beware how he plucks flowers,
remembering that every bush he sees may be a goddess in disguise.
Farewell, dear husband, and sister, and father.  If you retain
any love for me, let not the axe wound me, nor the flocks bite
and tear my branches.  Since I cannot stoop to you, climb up
hither and kiss me; and while my lips continue to feel, lift up
my child that I may kiss him.  I can speak no more, for already
the bark advances up my neck, and will soon shoot over me.  You
need not close my eyes; the bark will close them without your
aid."  Then the lips ceased to move, and life was extinct; but
the branches retained, for some time longer the vital heat.

Keats, in Endymion, alludes to Dryope thus:

"She took a lute from which there pulsing came
A lively prelude, fashioning the way
In which her voice should wander.  'Twas a lay
More subtle-cadenced, more forest-wild
Than Dryope's lone lulling of her child."


Venus, playing one day with her boy Cupid, wounded her bosom with
one of his arrows.  She pushed him away, but the wound was deeper
than she thought.  Before it healed she beheld Adonis, and was
captivated with him.  She no longer took any interest in her
favorite resorts,   Paphos, and Cnidos, and Amathos, rich in
metals.  She absented herself even from Olympus, for Adonis was
dearer to her than heaven.  Him she followed and bore him
company.  She who used to love to recline in the shade, with no
care but to cultivate her charms, now rambled through the woods
and over the hills, dressed like the huntress Diana.  She called
her dogs, and chased hares and stags, or other game that it is
safe to hunt, but kept clear of the wolves and bears, reeking
with the slaughter of the herd.  She charged Adonis, too, to
beware of such dangerous animals.  "Be brave towards the timid,"
said she; "courage against the courageous is not safe.  Beware
how you expose yourself to danger, and put my happiness to risk.
Attack not the beasts that Nature has armed with weapons.  I do
not value your glory so highly as to consent to purchase it by
such exposure.  Your youth, and the beauty that charms Venus,
will not touch the hearts of lions and bristly boars.  Think of
their terrible claws and prodigious strength!  I hate the whole
race of them.  Do you ask why?"  Then she told him the story of
Atalanta and Hippomenes, who were changed into lions for their
ingratitude to her.

Having given him this warning, she mounted her chariot drawn by
swans, and drove away through the air.  But Adonis was too noble
to heed such counsels.  The dogs had roused a wild boar from his
lair, and the youth threw his spear and wounded the animal with a
sidelong stroke.  The beast drew out the weapon with his jaws,
and rushed after Adonis, who turned and ran; but the boar
overtook him, and buried his tusks in his side, and stretched him
dying upon the plain.

Venus, in her swan-drawn chariot, had not yet reached Cyprus,
when she heard coming up through mid air the groans of her
beloved, and turned her white-winged coursers back to earth.  As
she drew near and saw from on high his lifeless body bathed in
blood, she alighted, and bending over it beat her breast and tore
her hair.  Reproaching the Fates, she said, "Yet theirs shall be
but a partial triumph; memorials of my grief shall endure, and
the spectacle of your death, my Adonis, and of my lamentation
shall be annually renewed.  Your blood shall be changed into a
flower; that consolation none can envy me."  Thus speaking, she
sprinkled nectar on the blood; and as they mingled, bubbles rose
as in a pool on which raindrops fall, and in an hour's time there
sprang up a flower of bloody hue like that of a pomegranate.  But
it is short-lived.  It is said the wind blows the blossoms open,
and afterwards blows the petals away; so it is called Anemone, or
wind Flower, from the cause which assists equally in its
production and its decay.

Milton alludes to the story of Venus and Adonis in his Comus:

"Beds of hyacinth and roses
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th'Assyrian queen."

And Morris also in Atalanta's Race:

"There by his horn the Dryads well might know
His thrust against the bear's heart had been true,
And there Adonis bane his javelin slew"


Apollo was passionately fond of a youth named Hyacinthus.  He
accompanied him in his sports, carried the nets when he went
fishing, led the dogs when he went to hunt, followed him in his
excursions in the mountains, and neglected for him his lyre and
his arrows.  One day they played a game of quoits together, and
Apollo, heaving aloft the discus, with strength mingled with
skill, sent it high and far.  Hyacinthus watched it as it flew,
and excited with the sport ran forward to seize it, eager to make
his throw, when the quoit bounded from the earth and struck him
in the forehead.  He fainted and fell.  The god, as pale as
himself, raised him and tried all his art to stanch the wound and
retain the flitting life, but all in vain; the hurt was past the
power of medicine.  As, when one has broken the stem of a lily in
the garden, it hangs its head and turns its flowers to the earth,
so the head of the dying boy, as if too heavy for his neck, fell
over on his shoulder.  "Thou diest, Hyacinth," so spoke Phoebus,
"robbed of thy youth by me.  Thine is the suffering, mine the
crime.  Would that I could die for thee!  But since that may not
be thou shalt live with me in memory and in song.  My lyre shall
celebrate thee, my song shall tell thy fate, and thou shalt
become a flower inscribed with my regrets."  While Apollo spoke,
behold the blood which had flowed on the ground and stained the
herbage, ceased to be blood; but a flower of hue more beautiful
than the Tyrian sprang up, resembling the lily, if it were not
that this is purple and that silvery white (it is evidently not
our modern hyacinth that is here described.  It is perhaps some
species of iris, or perhaps of larkspur, or of pansy.)  And this
was not enough for Phoebus; but to confer still grater honor, he
marked the petals with his sorrow, and inscribed "Ah!  Ah!" upon
them, as we see to this day.  The flower bears the name of
Hyacinthus, and with every returning spring revives the memory of
his fate.

It was said that Zephyrus (the West-wind), who was also fond of
Hyacinthus and jealous of his preference of Apollo, blew the
quoit out of its course to make it strike Hyacinthus.  Keats
alludes to this in his Endymion, where he describes the lookers-
on at the game of quoits:

"Or they might watch the quoit-pitchers, intent
On either side, pitying the sad death
Of Hyacinthus, when the cruel breath
Of Zephyr slew him; Zephyr penitent,
Who now ere Phoebus mounts the firmament,
Fondles the flower amid the sobbing rain."

An allusion to Hyacinthus will also be recognized in Milton's

"Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe."


Ceyx was King of Thessaly, where he reigned in peace without
violence or wrong.  He was son of Hesperus, the Day-star, and the
glow of his beauty reminded one of his father.  Halcyone, the
daughter of Aeolus, was his wife, and devotedly attached to him.
Now Ceyx was in deep affliction for the loss of his brother, and
direful prodigies following his brother's death made him feel as
if the gods were hostile to him.  He thought best therefore to
make a voyage to Claros in Ionia, to consult the oracle of
Apollo.  But as soon as he disclosed his intention to his wife
Halcyone, a shudder ran through her frame, and her face grew
deadly pale.  "What fault of mine, dearest husband, has turned
your affection from me?  Where is that love of me that used to be
uppermost in your thoughts?  Have you learned to feel easy in the
absence of Halcyone?  Would you rather have me away?"  She also
endeavored to discourage him, by describing the violence of the
winds, which she had known familiarly when she lived at home in
her father's house, Aeolus being the god of the winds, and having
as much as he could do to restrain them.  "They rush together,"
said she, "with such fury that fire flashes from the conflict.
But if you must go," she added, "dear husband, let me go with
you, Otherwise I shall suffer, not only the real evils which you
must encounter, but those also which my fears suggest."

These words weighed heavily on the mind of king Ceyx, and it was
no less his own wish than hers to take her with him, but he could
not bear to expose her to the dangers of the sea.  He answered,
therefore, consoling her as well as he could, and finished with
these words: "I promise, by the rays of my father the Day-star,
that if fate permits I will return before the moon shall have
twice rounded her orb."  When he had thus spoken he ordered the
vessel to be drawn out of the ship-house, and the oars and sails
to be put aboard.  When Halcyone saw these preparations she
shuddered, as if with a presentiment of evil.  With tears and
sobs she said farewell, and then fell senseless to the ground.

Ceyx would still have lingered, but now the young men grasped
their oars and pulled vigorously through the waves, with long and
measured strokes.  Halcyone raised her streaming eyes, and saw
her husband standing on the deck, waving his hand to her.  She
answered his signal till the vessel had receded so far that she
could no longer distinguish his form from the rest.  When the
vessel itself could no more be seen, she strained her eyes to
catch the last glimmer of the sail, till that too disappeared.
Then, retiring to her chamber, she threw herself on her solitary

Meanwhile they glide out of the harbor, and the breeze plays
among the ropes.  The seamen draw in their oars, and hoist their
sails.  When half or less of their course was passed, as night
drew on, the sea began to whiten with swelling waves, and the
east wind to blow a gale.  The master gives the word to take in
sail, but the storm forbids obedience, for such is the roar of
the winds and waves that his orders are unheard.  The men, of
their own accord, busy themselves to secure the oars, to
strengthen the ship, to reef the sail.  While they thus do what
to each one seems best, the storm increases.  The shouting of the
men, the rattling of the shrouds, and the dashing of the waves,
mingle with the roar of the thunder.  The swelling sea seems
lifted up to the heavens, to scatter its foam among the clouds;
then sinking away to the bottom assumes the color of the shoal,
a Stygian blackness.

The vessel obeys all these changes.  It seems like a wild beast
that rushes on the spears of the hunters.  Rain falls in
torrents, as if the skies were coming down to unite with the sea.
When the lightning ceases for a moment, the night seems to add
its own darkness to that of the storm; then comes the flash,
rending the darkness asunder, and lighting up all with a glare.
Skill fails, courage sinks, and death seems to come on every
wave.  The men are stupefied with terror.  The thought of
parents, and kindred, and pledges left at home, comes over their
minds.  Ceyx thinks of Halcyone.  No name but hers is on his
lips, and while he yearns for her, he yet rejoices in her
absence.  Presently the mast is shattered by a stroke of
lightning, the rudder broken, and the triumphant surge curling
over looks down upon the wreck, then falls, and crushes it to
fragments.  Some of the seamen, stunned by the stroke, sink, and
rise no more; others cling to fragments of the wreck.  Ceyx, with
the hand that used to grasp the sceptre, holds fast to a plank,
calling for help,   alas, in vain,   upon his father and his
father-in-law.  But oftenest on his lips was the name of
Halcyone.  His thoughts cling to her.  He prays that the waves
may bear his body to her sight, and that it may receive burial at
her hands.  At length the waters overwhelm him, and he sinks.
The Day-star looked dim that night.  Since it could not leave the
heavens, it shrouded its face with clouds.

In the mean while Halcyone, ignorant of all these horrors,
counted the days till her husband's promised return.  Now she
gets ready the garments which he shall put on, and now what she
shall wear when he arrives.  To all the gods she offers frequent
incense but more than all to Juno.  For her husband, who was no
more, she prayed incessantly; that he might be safe; that he
might come home; that he might not, in his absence, see any one
that he would love better than her.  But of all these prayers,
the last was the only one destined to be granted.  The goddess,
at length, could not bear any longer to be pleaded with for one
already dead, and to have hands raised to her altars, that ought
rather to be offering funeral rites.  So, calling Iris, she said,
"Iris, my faithful messenger, go to the drowsy dwelling of
Somnus, and tell him to send a vision to Halcyone, in the form of
Ceyx, to make known to her the event."

Iris puts on her robe of many colors, and tingeing the sky with
her bow, seeks the palace of the King of Sleep. Near the
Cimmerian country, a mountain cave is the abode of the dull god,
Somnus,  Here Phoebus dares not come, either rising, or at
midday, or setting.  Clouds and shadows are exhaled from the
ground, and the light glimmers faintly.  The bird of dawn, with
crested head, never calls aloud there to Aurora, nor watchful
dog, nor more sagacious goose disturbs the silence.  (This
comparison of the dog and the goose is a reference by Ovid to a
passage in Roman history.)  No wild beast, nor cattle, nor branch
moved with the wind, nor sound of human conversation, breaks the
stillness.  Silence reigns there; and from the bottom of the rock
the River Lethe flows, and by its murmur invites to sleep.
Poppies grow abundantly before the door of the cave, and other
herbs, from whose juices Night collects slumbers, which she
scatters over the darkened earth.  There is no gate to the
mansion, to creak on its hinges, nor any watchman; but in the
midst, a couch of black ebony, adorned with black plumes and
black curtains.  There the god reclines, his limbs relaxed with
sleep.  Around him lie dreams, resembling all various forms, as
many as the harvest bears stalks, or the forest leaves, or the
seashore grains of sand.

As soon as the goddess entered and brushed away the dreams that
hovered around her, her brightness lit up all the cave.  The god,
scarce opening his eyes, and ever and anon dropping his beard
upon his breast, at last shook himself free from himself, and
leaning on his arm, inquired her errand,   for he knew who she
was.  She answered, "Somnus, gentlest of the gods, tranquillizer
of minds and soother of careworn hearts, Juno sends you her
commands that you dispatch a dream to Halcyone, in the city of
Trachinae, representing her lost husband and all the events of
the wreck."

Having delivered her message, Iris hasted away, for she could not
longer endure the stagnant air, and as she felt drowsiness
creeping over her, she made her escape, and returned by her bow
the way she came.  Then Somnus called one of his numerous sons,
Morpheus,   the most expert at counterfeiting forms, and in
imitating the walk, the countenance, and mode of speaking, even
the clothes and attitudes most characteristic of each.  But he
only imitates men, leaving it to another to personate birds,
beasts, and serpents.  Him they call Icelos; and Phantasos is a
third, who turns himself into rocks, waters, woods, and other
things without life.  These wait upon kings and great personages
in their sleeping hours, while others move among the common
people.  Somnus chose, from all the brothers, Morpheus, to
perform the command of Iris; then laid his head on his pillow and
yielded himself to grateful repose.

Morpheus flew, making no noise with his wings, and soon came to
the Haemonian city, where, laying aside his wings, he assumed the
form of Ceyx.  Under that form, but pale like a dead man, naked,
he stood before the couch of the wretched wife.  His beard seemed
soaked with water, and water trickled from his drowned locks.
Leaning over the bed, tears streaming from his eyes, he said, "Do
you recognize your Ceyx, unhappy wife, or has death too much
changed my visage?  Behold me, know me, your husband's shade,
instead of himself.  Your prayers, Halcyone, availed me nothing.
I am dead.  No more deceive yourself with vain hopes of my
return.  The stormy winds sunk my ship in the Aegean Sea; waves
filled my mouth while it called aloud on you.  No uncertain
messenger tells you this, no vague rumor brings it to your ears.
I come in person, a shipwrecked man, to tell you my fate.  Arise!
Give me tears, give me lamentations, let me not go down to
Tartarus unwept."  To these words Morpheus added the voice which
seemed to be that of her husband; he seemed to pour forth genuine
tears; his hands had the gestures of Ceyx.

Halcyone, weeping, groaned, and stretched out her arms in her
sleep, striving to embrace his body, but grasping only the air.
"Stay!" she cried; "whither do you fly?  Let us go together."
Her own voice awakened her.  Starting up, she gazed eagerly
around, to see if he was still present, for the servants, alarmed
by her cries, had brought a light.  When she found him not, she
smote her breast and rent her garments.  She cares not to unbind
her hair, but tears it wildly.  Her nurse asks what is the cause
of her grief.  "Halcyone is no more," she answers; "she perished
with her Ceyx.  Utter not words of comfort, he is shipwrecked and
dead.  I have seen him.  I have recognized him.  I stretched out
my hands to seize him and detain him.  His shade vanished, but it
was the true shade of my husband.  Not with the accustomed
features, not with the beauty that was his, but pale, naked, and
with his hair wet with sea-water, he appeared to wretched me.
Here, in this very spot, the sad vision stood,"   and she looked
to find the mark of his footsteps.  "This it was, this that my
presaging mind foreboded, when I implored him not to leave me to
trust himself to the waves.  O, how I wish, since thou wouldst
go, that thou hadst taken me with thee!  It would have been far
better.  Then I should have had no remnant of life to spend
without thee, nor a separate death to die.  If I could bear to
live and struggle to endure, I should be more cruel to myself
than the sea has been to me.  But I will not struggle.  I will
not be separated from thee, unhappy husband.  This time, at least
I will keep thee company.  In death, if one tomb may not include
us, one epitaph shall; if I may not lay my ashes with thine, my
name, at least, shall not be separated."  Her grief forbade more
words, and these were broken with tears and sobs.

It was now morning.  She went to the sea-shore, and sought the
spot where she last saw him, on his departure.  "Here he lingered
and cast off his tacklings and gave me his last kiss."  While she
reviews every moment, and strives to recall every incident,
looking out over the sea, she descries an indistinct object
floating in the water.  At first she was in doubt what it was,
but by degrees the waves bore it nearer, and it was plainly the
body of a man.  Though unknowing of whom, yet, as it was of some
shipwrecked one, she was deeply moved, and gave it her tears,
saying, "Alas!  Unhappy one, and unhappy, if such there be, thy
wife!"  Borne by the waves, it came nearer.  As she more and more
nearly views it, she trembles more and more.  Now, now it
approaches the shore.  Now marks that she recognizes appear.  It
is her husband!  Stretching out her trembling hands towards it,
she exclaims, "O, dearest husband, is it thus you return to me?"

There was built out from the shore a mole, constructed to break
the assaults of the sea, and stem its violent ingress.  She
leaped upon this barrier and (it was wonderful she could do so)
she flew, and striking the air with wings produced on the
instant, skimmed along the surface of the water, an unhappy bird.
As she flew, her throat poured forth sounds full of grief, and
like the voice of one lamenting.  When she touched the mute and
bloodless body, she enfolded its beloved limbs with her new-
formed wings, and tried to give kisses with her horny beak.
Whether Ceyx felt it, or whether it was only the action of the
waves, those who looked on doubted, but the body seemed to raise
its head.  But indeed he did feel it, and by the pitying gods
both of them were changed into birds.  They mate and have their
young ones.  For seven placid days, in winter time, Halcyone
broods over her nest, which floats upon the sea.  Then the way is
safe to seamen.  Aeolus guards the winds, and keeps them from
disturbing the deep.  The sea is given up, for the time, to his

The following lines from Byron's Bride of Abydos might seem
borrowed from the concluding part of this description, if it were
not stated that the author derived the suggestion from observing
the motion of a floating corpse.

"As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving billow;
That hand, whose motion is not life,
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,
Flung by the tossing tide on high,.
Then levelled with the wave  "

Milton, in his Hymn for the Nativity, thus alludes to the fable
of the Halcyon:

"But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of light
His reign of peace upon the earth began;
The winds with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean
Who now hath quite forgot to rave
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave."

Keats, also, in Endymion, says:

"O magic sleep!  O comfortable bird
That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind
Till it is hushed and smooth."

Chapter VI
Vertumnus and Pomona.   Cupid and Psyche

The Hamadryads were Wood-nymphs.  Among them was Pomona, and no
one excelled her in love of the garden and the culture of fruit.
She cared not for forests and rivers, but loved the cultivated
country and trees that bear delicious apples.  Her right hand
bore for its weapon not a javelin, but a pruning knife.  Armed
with this, she worked at one time, to repress the too luxuriant
growths, and curtail the branches that straggled out of place; at
another, to split the twig and insert therein a graft, making the
branch adopt a nursling not its own.  She took care, too, that
her favorites should not suffer from drought, and led streams of
water by them that the thirsty roots might drink.  This
occupation was her pursuit, her passion; and she was free from
that which Venus inspires.  She was not without fear of the
country people, and kept her orchard locked, and allowed not men
to enter.  The Fauns and Satyrs would have given all they
possessed to win her, and so would old Sylvanus, who looks young
for his years, and Pan, who wears a garland of pine leaves around
his head.  But Vertumnus loved her best of all; yet he sped no
better than the rest.  Oh, how often, in the disguise of a
reaper, did he bring her corn in a basket, and looked the very
image of a reaper!  With a hay-band tied round him, one would
think he had just come from turning over the grass.  Sometimes he
would have an ox-goad in his hand, and you would have said he had
just unyoked his weary oxen.  Now he bore a pruning-hook, and
personated a vine-dresser; and again with a ladder on his
shoulder, he seemed as if he was going to gather apples.
Sometimes he trudged along as a discharged soldier, and again he
bore a fishing-rod as if going to fish.  In this way, he gained
admission to her, again and again, and fed his passion with the
sight of her.

One day he came in the guise of an old woman, her gray hair
surmounted with a cap, and a staff in her hand.  She entered the
garden and admired the fruit.  "It does you credit, my dear," she
said, and kissed Pomona, not exactly with an old woman's kiss.
She sat down on a bank, and looked up at the branches laden with
fruit which hung over her.  Opposite was an elm entwined with a
vine loaded with swelling grapes.  She praised the tree and its
associated vine, equally.  "But," said Vertumnus, "if the tree
stood alone, and had no vine clinging to it, it would lie
prostrate on the ground.  Why will you not take a lesson from the
tree and the vine, and consent to unite yourself with some one?
I wish you would.  Helen herself had not more numerous suitors,
nor Penelope, the wife of shrewd Ulysses.  Even while you spurn
them, they court you  rural deities and others of every kind that
frequent these mountains.  But if you are prudent and want to
make a good alliance, and will let an old woman advise you,   who
loves you better than you have any idea of,   dismiss all the
rest and accept Vertumnus, on my recommendation.  I know him as
well as he knows himself.  He is not a wandering deity, but
belongs to these mountains.  Nor is he like too many of the
lovers nowadays, who love any one they happen to see; he loves
you, and you only.  Add to this, he is young and handsome, and
has the art of assuming any shape he pleases, and can make
himself just what you command him.  Moreover, he loves the same
things that you do, delights in gardening, and handles your
apples with admiration.  But NOW he cares nothing for fruits, nor
flowers, nor anything else, but only yourself.  Take pity on him,
and fancy him speaking now with my mouth.  Remember that the gods
punish cruelty, and that Venus hates a hard heart, and will visit
such offenses sooner or later.  To prove this, let me tell you a
story, which is well known in Cyprus to be a fact; and I hope it
will have the effect to make you more merciful.

"Iphis was a young man of humble parentage, who saw and loved
Anaxarete, a noble lady of the ancient family of Teucer.  He
struggled long with his passion, but when he found he could not
subdue it, he came a suppliant to her mansion.  First he told his
passion to her nurse, and begged her as she loved her foster-
child to favor his suit.  And then he tried to win her domestics
to his side.  Sometimes he committed his vows to written tablets,
and often hung at her door garlands which he had moistened with
his tears.  He stretched himself on her threshold, and uttered
his complaints to the cruel bolts and bars.  She was deafer than
the surges which rise in the November gale; harder than steel
from the German forges, or a rock that still clings to its native
cliff.  She mocked and laughed at him, adding cruel words to her
ungentle treatment, and gave not the slightest gleam of hope.

"Iphis could not any longer endure the torments of hopeless love,
and standing before her doors, he spake these last words:
'Anaxarete, you have conquered, and shall no longer have to bear
my importunities.  Enjoy your triumph!  Sing songs of joy, and
bind your forehead with laurel,   you have conquered!  I die;
stony heart, rejoice!  This at least I can do to gratify you, and
force you to praise me; and thus shall I prove that the love of
you left me but with life.  Nor will I leave it to rumor to tell
you of my death.  I will come myself, and you shall see me die,
and feast your eyes on the spectacle.  Yet, Oh, ye gods, who look
down on mortal woes, observe my fate!  I ask but this!  Let me be
remembered in coming ages, and add those years to my name which
you have reft from my life.'  Thus he said, and, turning his pale
face and weeping eyes towards her mansion, he fastened a rope to
the gate-post, on which he had hung garlands, and putting his
head into the noose, he murmured, 'This garland at least will
please you, cruel girl!'  And falling, hung suspended with his
neck broken.  As he fell he struck against the gate, and the
sound was as the sound of a groan.  The servants opened the door
and found him dead, and with exclamations of pity raised him and
carried him home to his mother, for his father was not living.
She received the dead body of her son, and folded the cold form
to her bosom; while she poured forth the sad words which bereaved
mothers utter.  The mournful funeral passed through the town, and
the pale corpse was borne on a bier to the place of the funeral
pile.  By chance the home of Anaxarete was on the street where
the procession passed, and the lamentations of the mourners met
the ears of her whom the avenging deity had already marked for

"'Let us see this sad procession,' said she, and mounted to a
turret, whence through an open window she looked upon the
funeral.  Scarce had her eyes rested upon the form of Iphis
stretched on the bier, when they began to stiffen, and the warm
blood in her body to become cold.  Endeavoring to step back, she
found she could not move her feet; trying to turn away her face,
she tried in vain; and by degrees all her limbs became stony like
her heart.  That you may not doubt the fact, the statue still
remains, and stands in the temple of Venus at Salamis, in the
exact form of the lady.  Now think of these things, my dear, and
lay aside your scorn and your delays, and accept a lover.  So may
neither the vernal frosts blight your young fruits, nor furious
winds scatter your blossoms!"

When Vertumnus had spoken thus, he dropped the disguise of an old
woman, and stood before her in his proper person, as a comely
youth.  It appeared to her like the sun bursting through a cloud.
He would have renewed his entreaties, but there was no need; his
arguments and the sight of his true form prevailed, and the Nymph
no longer resisted, but owned a mutual flame.

Pomona was the especial patroness of the apple-orchard, and as
such she was invoked by Phillips, the author of a poem on Cider,
in blank verse, in the following lines:

"What soil the apple loves, what care is due
To orchats, timeliest when to press the fruits,
Thy gift, Pomona, in Miltonian verse
Adventurous I presume to sing."

Thomson, in the Seasons, alludes to Phillips:

"Phillips, Pomona's bard, the second thou
Who nobly durst, in rhyme-unfettered verse,
With British freedom, sing the British song."

It will be seen that Thomson refers to the poet's reference to
Milton, but it is not true that Phillips is only the second
writer of English blank verse.  Many other poets beside Milton
had used it long before Phillips' time.

But Pomona was also regarded as presiding over other fruits, and,
as such, is invoked by Thomson:

"Bear me, Pomona, to thy citron groves,
To where the lemon and the piercing lime,
With the deep orange, glowing through the green,
Their lighter glories blend.  Lay me reclined
Beneath the spreading tamarind, that shakes,
Fanned by the breeze, its fever-cooling fruit."


A certain king had three daughters.  (This seems to be one of the
latest fables of the Greek mythology.  It has not been found
earlier than the close of the second century of the Christian
era.  It bears marks of the higher religious notions of that
time.)  The two elder were charming girls, but the beauty of the
youngest was so wonderful that language is too poor to express
its due praise.  The fame of her beauty was so great that
strangers from neighboring countries came in crowds to enjoy the
sight, and looked on her with amazement, paying her that homage
which is due only to Venus herself.  In fact, Venus found her
altars deserted, while men turned their devotion to this young
virgin.  As she passed along, the people sang her praises, and
strewed her way with chaplets and flowers.

This perversion to a mortal of the homage due only to the
immortal powers gave great offence to the real Venus.  Shaking
her ambrosial locks with indignation, she exclaimed, "Am I then
to be eclipsed in my honors by a mortal girl?  In vain then did
that royal shepherd, whose judgment was approved by Jove himself,
give me the palm of beauty over my illustrious rivals, Pallas and
June.  But she shall not so quietly usurp my honors.  I will give
her cause to repent of so unlawful a beauty."

Thereupon she calls her winged son Cupid, mischievous enough in
his own nature, and rouses and provokes him yet more by her
complaints.  She points out Psyche to him, and says, "My dear
son, punish that contumacious beauty; give thy mother a revenge
as sweet as her injuries are great; infuse into the bosom of that
haughty girl a passion for some low, mean, unworthy being, so
that she may reap a mortification as great as her present
exultation and triumph."

Cupid prepared to obey the commands of his mother.  There are two
fountains in Venus's garden, one of sweet waters, the other of
bitter.  Cupid filled two amber vases, one from each fountain,
and suspending them from the top of his quiver, hastened to the
chamber of Psyche, whom he found asleep.  He shed a few drops
from the bitter fountain over her lips, though the sight of her
almost moved him to pity; then touched her side with the point of
his arrow.  At the touch she awoke, and opened eyes upon Cupid
(himself invisible) which so startled him that in his confusion
he wounded himself with his own arrow.  Heedless of his wound his
whole thought now was to repair the mischief he had done, and he
poured the balmy drops of joy over all her silken ringlets.

Psyche, henceforth frowned upon by Venus, derived no benefit from
all her charms.  True, all eyes were cast eagerly upon her, and
every mouth spoke her praises; but neither king, royal youth, nor
plebeian presented himself to demand her in marriage.  Her two
elder sisters of moderate charms had now long been married to two
royal princes; but Psyche, in her lonely apartment, deplored her
solitude, sick of that beauty, which, while it procured abundance
of flattery, had failed to awaken love.

Her parents, afraid that they had unwittingly incurred the anger
of the gods, consulted the oracle of Apollo, and received this
answer: "The virgin is destined for the bride of no mortal lover.
Her future husband awaits her on the top of the mountain.  He is
a monster whom neither gods nor men can resist."

This dreadful decree of the oracle filled all the people with
dismay, and her parents abandoned themselves to grief.  But
Psyche said, "Why, my dear parents, do you now lament me?  You
should rather have grieved when the people showered upon me
undeserved honors, and with one voice called me a Venus.  I now
perceive that I am a victim to that name.  I submit.  Lead me to
that rock to which my unhappy fate has destined me." Accordingly,
all things being prepared, the royal maid took her place in the
procession, which more resembled a funeral than a nuptial pomp,
and with her parents, amid the lamentations of the people,
ascended the mountain, on the summit of which they left her
alone, and with sorrowful hearts returned home.

While Psyche stood on the ridge of the mountain, panting with
fear and with eyes full of tears, the gentle Zephyr raised her
from the earth and bore her with an easy motion into a flowery
dale.  By degrees her mind became composed, and she laid herself
down on the grassy bank to sleep.  When she awoke, refreshed with
sleep, she looked round and beheld nearby a pleasant grove of
tall and stately trees.  She entered it, and in the midst
discovered a fountain, sending forth clear and crystal waters,
and hard by, a magnificent palace whose August front impressed
the spectator that it was not the work of mortal hands, but the
happy retreat of some god.  Drawn by admiration and wonder, she
approached the building and ventured to enter.  Every object she
met filled her with pleasure and amazement.  Golden pillars
supported the vaulted roof, and the walls were enriched with
carvings and paintings representing beasts of the chase and rural
scenes, adapted to delight the eye of the beholder.  Proceeding
onward she perceived that besides the apartments of state there
were others, filled with all manner of treasures, and beautiful
and precious productions of nature and art.

While her eyes were thus occupied, a voice addressed her, though
she saw no one, uttering these words: "Sovereign lady, all that
you see is yours.  We whose voices you hear are your servants,
and shall obey all your commands with our utmost care and
diligence.  Retire therefore to your chamber and repose on your
bed of down, and when you see fit repair to the bath.  Supper
will await you in the adjoining alcove when it pleases you to
take your seat there."

Psyche gave ear to the admonitions of her vocal attendants, and
after repose and the refreshment of the bath, seated herself in
the alcove, where a table immediately presented itself, without
any visible aid from waiters or servants, and covered with the
greatest delicacies of food and the most nectareous wines.  Her
ears too were feasted with music from invisible performers; of
whom one sang, another played on the lute, and all closed in the
wonderful harmony of a full chorus.

She had not yet seen her destined husband.  He came only in the
hours of darkness, and fled before the dawn of morning, but his
accents were full of love, and inspired a like passion in her.
She often begged him to stay and let her behold him, but he would
not consent.  On the contrary, he charged her to make no attempt
to see him, for it was his pleasure, for the best of reasons, to
keep concealed.  "Why should you wish to behold me?" he said.
"Have you any doubt of my love?  Have you any wish ungratified?
If you saw me, perhaps you would fear me, perhaps adore me, but
all I ask of you is to love me.  I would rather you would love me
as an equal than adore me as a god."

This reasoning somewhat quieted Psyche for a time, and while the
novelty lasted she felt quite happy.  But at length the thought
of her parents, left in ignorance of her fate, and of her
sisters, precluded from sharing with her the delights of her
situation, preyed on her mind and made her begin to feel her
palace as but a splendid prison.  When her husband came one
night, she told him her distress, and at last drew from him an
unwilling consent that her sisters should be brought to see her.

So calling Zephyr, she acquainted him with her husband's
commands, and he, promptly obedient, soon brought them across the
mountain down to their sister's valley.  They embraced her and
she returned their caresses.  "Come," said Psyche, "enter with me
my house and refresh yourselves with whatever your sister has to
offer."  Then taking their hands she led them into her golden
palace, and committed them to the care of her numerous train of
attendant voices, to refresh them in her baths and at her table,
and to show them all her treasures.  The view of these celestial
delights caused envy to enter their bosoms, at seeing their young
sister possessed of such state and splendor, so much exceeding
their own.

They asked her numberless questions, among others what sort of a
person her husband was.  Psyche replied that he was a beautiful
youth, who generally spent the daytime in hunting upon the
mountains.  The sisters, not satisfied with this reply, soon made
her confess that she had never seen him.  Then they proceeded to
fill her bosom with dark suspicions.  "Call to mind," they said,
"the Pythian oracle that declared you destined to marry a direful
and tremendous monster.  The inhabitants of this valley say that
your husband is a terrible and monstrous serpent, who nourishes
you for a while with dainties that he may by and by devour you.
Take our advice.  Provide yourself with a lamp and a sharp knife;
put them in concealment that your husband may not discover them,
and when he is sound asleep, slip out of bed bring forth your
lamp and see for yourself whether what they say is true or not.
If it is, hesitate not to cut off the monster's head, and thereby
recover your liberty."

Psyche resisted these persuasions as well as she could, but they
did not fail to have their effect on her mind, and when her
sisters were gone, their words and her own curiosity were too
strong for her to resist.  So she prepared her lamp and a sharp
knife, and hid them out of sight of her husband.  When he had
fallen into his first sleep, she silently rose and uncovering her
lamp beheld not a hideous monster, but the most beautiful and
charming of the gods, with his golden ringlets wandering over his
snowy neck and crimson cheek, with two dewy wings on his
shoulders, whiter than snow, and with shining feathers like the
tender blossoms of spring.  As she leaned the lamp over to have a
nearer view of his face a drop of burning oil fell on the
shoulder of the god, startled with which he opened his eyes and
fixed them full upon her; then, without saying one word, he
spread his white wings and flew out of the window.  Psyche, in
vain endeavoring to follow him, fell from the window to the
ground.  Cupid, beholding her as she lay in the dust, stopped his
flight for an instant and said, "O foolish Psyche, is it thus you
repay my love?  After having disobeyed my mother's commands and
made you my wife, will you think me a monster and cut off my
head?  But go; return to your sisters, whose advice you seem to
think preferable to mine.  I inflict no other punishment on you
than to leave you forever.  Love cannot dwell with suspicion."
So saying he fled away, leaving poor Psyche prostrate on the
ground, filling the place with mournful lamentations.

When she had recovered some degree of composure she looked around
her, but the palace and gardens had vanished, and she found
herself in the open field not far from the city where her sisters
dwelt.  She repaired thither and told them the whole story of her
misfortunes, at which, pretending to grieve, those spiteful
creatures inwardly rejoiced; "for now," said they, "he will
perhaps choose one of us."  With this idea, without saying a word
of her intentions, each of them rose early the next morning and
ascended the mountain, and having reached the top, called upon
Zephyr to receive her and bear her to his lord; then leaping up,
and not being sustained by Zephyr, fell down the precipice and
was dashed to pieces.

Psyche meanwhile wandered day and night, without food or repose,
in search of her husband.  Casting her eyes on a lofty mountain
having on its brow a magnificent temple, she sighed and said to
herself, "Perhaps my love, my lord, inhabits there," and directed
her steps thither.

She had no sooner entered than she saw heaps of corn, some in
loose ears and some in sheaves, with mingled ears of barley.
Scattered about lay sickles and rakes, and all the instruments of
harvest, without order, as if thrown carelessly out of the weary
reapers' hands in the sultry hours of the day.

This unseemly confusion the pious Psyche put an end to, by
separating and sorting every thing to its proper place and kind,
believing that she ought to neglect none of the gods, but
endeavor by her piety to engage them all in her behalf.  The holy
Ceres, whose temple it was, finding her so religiously employed,
thus spoke to her: "O Psyche, truly worthy of our pity, though I
cannot shield you from the frowns of Venus, yet I can teach you
how best to allay her displeasure.  Go then, voluntarily
surrender yourself to your lady and sovereign, and try by modesty
and submission to win her forgiveness; perhaps her favor will
restore you the husband you have lost."

Psyche obeyed the commands of Ceres and took her way to the
temple of Venus, endeavoring to fortify her mind and thinking of
what she should say and how she should best propitiate the angry
goddess, feeling that the issue was doubtful and perhaps fatal.

Venus received her with angry countenance.  "Most undutiful and
faithless of servants," said she, "do you at last remember that
you really have a mistress?  Or have you rather come to see your
sick husband, yet suffering from the wound given him by his
loving wife?  You are so ill-favored and disagreeable that the
only way you can merit your lover must be by dint of industry and
diligence.  I will make trial of your housewifery."  Then she
ordered Psyche to be led to the storehouse of her temple, where
was laid up a great quantity of wheat, barley, millet, vetches,
beans, and lentils prepared for food for her doves, and said,
"Take and separate all these grains, putting all of the same kind
in a parcel by themselves, and see that you get it done before
evening."  Then Venus departed and left her to her task.

But Psyche, in perfect consternation at the enormous work, sat
stupid and silent, without moving a finger to the inextricable

While she sat despairing, Cupid stirred up the little ant, a
native of the fields, to take compassion on her.  The leader of
the ant-hill, followed by whole hosts of his six-legged subjects,
approached the heap, and with the utmost diligence taking grain
by grain, they separated the pile, sorting each kind to its
parcel; and when it was all done, they vanished out of sight in a

Venus at the approach of twilight returned from the banquet of
the gods, breathing odors and crowned with roses.  Seeing the
task done she exclaimed, "This is no work of yours wicked one,
but his, whom to your own and his misfortune you have enticed."
So saying, she threw her a piece of black bread for her supper
and went away.

Next morning Venus ordered Psyche to be called, and said to her,
"Behold yonder grove which stretches along the margin of the
water.  There you will find sheep feeding without a shepherd,
with golden-shining fleeces on their backs.  Go, fetch me a
sample of that precious wool gathered from every one of their

Psyche obediently went to the river-side, prepared to do her best
to execute the command.  But the river-god inspired the reeds
with harmonious murmurs, which seemed to say, "O maiden, severely
tried, tempt not the dangerous flood, nor venture among the
formidable rams on the other side, for as long as they are under
the influence of the rising sun, they burn with a cruel rage to
destroy mortals with their sharp horns or rude teeth.  But when
the noontide sun has driven the flock to the shade, and the
serene spirit of the flood has lulled them to rest, you may then
cross in safety, and you will find the woolly gold sticking to
the bushes and the trunks of the trees."

Thus the compassionate river-god gave Psyche instructions how to
accomplish her task, and by observing his directions she soon
returned to Venus with her arms full of the golden fleece; but
she received not the approbation of her implacable mistress, who
said, "I know very well it is by none of your own doings that you
have succeeded in this task, and I am not satisfied yet that you
have any capacity to make yourself useful.  But I have another
task for you.  Here, take this box, and go your way to the
infernal shades, and give this box to Proserpine, and say, 'My
mistress Venus desires you to send her a little of your beauty,
for in tending her sick son she has lost come of her own.'  Be
not too long on your errand, for I must paint myself with it to
appear at the circle of the gods and goddesses this evening."

Psyche was now satisfied that her destruction was at hand, being
obliged to go with her own feet directly down to Erebus.
Wherefore, to make no delay of what was not to be avoided, she
goes to the top of a high tower to precipitate herself headlong,
thus to descend the shortest way to the shades below.  But a
voice from the tower said to her, "Why, poor unlucky girl, dost
thou design to put an end to thy days in so dreadful a manner?
And what cowardice makes thee sink under this last danger, who
hast been so miraculously supported in all thy former?"  Then the
voice told her how by a certain cave she might reach the realms
of Pluto, and how to avoid all the dangers of the road, to pass
by Cerberus, the three-headed dog, and prevail on Charon, the
ferryman, to take her across the black river and bring her back
again.  But the voice added, "When Proserpine has given you the
box, filled with her beauty, of all things this is chiefly to be
observed by you, that you never once open or look into the box
nor allow your curiosity to pry into the treasure of the beauty
of the goddesses.

Psyche encouraged by this advice obeyed it in all things, and
taking heed to her ways travelled safely to the kingdom of Pluto.
She was admitted to the palace of Proserpine, and without
accepting the delicate seat or delicious banquet that was offered
her, but contented with coarse bread for her food, she delivered
her message from Venus.  Presently the box was returned to her,
shut and filled with the precious commodity.  Then she returned
the way she came, and glad was she to come out once more into the
light of day.

But having got so far successfully through her dangerous task a
longing desire seized her to examine the contents of the box.
"What," said she, "shall I, the carrier of this divine beauty,
not take the least bit to put on my cheeks to appear to more
advantage in the eyes of my beloved husband!:" So she carefully
opened the box, but found nothing there of any beauty at all, but
an infernal and truly Stygian sleep, which being thus set free
from its prison, took possession of her, and she fell down in the
midst of the road, a sleepy corpse without sense or motion.

But Cupid being now recovered from his wound, and not able longer
to bear the absence of his beloved Psyche, slipping through the
smallest crack of the window of his chamber which happened to be
left open, flew to the spot where Psyche lay, and gathering up
the sleep from her body closed it again in the box, and waked
Psyche with a light touch of one of his arrows.  "Again," said
he, "hast thou almost perished by the same curiosity.  But now
perform exactly the task imposed on you by my mother, and I will
take care of the rest."

Then Cupid, as swift as lightning penetrating the heights of
heaven, presented himself before Jupiter with his supplication.
Jupiter lent a favoring ear, and pleaded the cause of the lovers
so earnestly with Venus that he won her consent.  On this he sent
Mercury to bring Psyche up to the heavenly assembly, and when she
arrived, handing her a cup of ambrosia, he said, "Drink this,
Psyche, and be immortal; nor shall Cupid ever break away from the
knot in which he is tied, but these nuptials shall be perpetual."

Thus Psyche became at last united to Cupid, and in due time they
had a daughter born to them whose name was Pleasure.

The fable of Cupid and Psyche is usually considered allegorical.
The Greek name for a butterfly is Psyche, and the same word means
the soul.  There is no illustration of the immortality of the
soul so striking and beautiful as the butterfly, bursting on
brilliant wings from the tomb in which it has lain, after a dull,
grovelling caterpillar existence, to flutter in the blaze of day
and feed on the most fragrant and delicate productions of the
spring.  Psyche, then, is the human soul, which is purified by
sufferings and misfortunes, and is thus prepared for the
enjoyment of true and pure happiness.

In works of art Psyche is represented as a maiden with the wings
of a butterfly, alone or with Cupid, in the different situations
described in the allegory.

Milton alludes to the story of Cupid and Psyche in the conclusion
of his Comus:--

"Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet entranced,
After her wandering labors long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride;
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn."

The allegory of the story of Cupid and Psyche is well presented
in the beautiful lines of T. K. Hervey:--

"They wove bright fables in the days of old
When reason borrowed fancy's painted wings;
When truth's clear river flowed o'er sands of gold,
And told in song its high and mystic things!
And such the sweet and solemn tale of her
The pilgrim-heart, to whom a dream was given.
That led her through the world,   Love's worshipper,
To seek on earth for him whose home was heaven!

"In the full city,   by the haunted fount,
Through the dim grotto's tracery of spars,
'Mid the pine temples, on the moonlit mount,
Where silence sits to listen to the stars;
In the deep glade where dwells the brooding dove,
The painted valley, and the scented air,
She heard far echoes of the voice of Love,
And found his footsteps' traces everywhere.

"But never more they met!  Since doubts and fears,
Those phantom-shapes that haunt and blight the earth,
Had come 'twixt her, a child of sin and tears,
And that bright spirit of immortal birth;
Until her pining soul and weeping eyes
Had learned to seek him only in the skies;
Till wings unto the weary heart were given,
And she became Love's angel bride in heaven!"

The story of Cupid and Psyche first appears in the works of
Apuleius, a writer of the second century of our era.  It is
therefore of much more recent date than most of the legends of
the Age of Fable.  It is this that Keats alludes to in his Ode to

"O latest born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-regioned star
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heaped with flowers;
Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan
Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet,
>From chain-swung censer teeming;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
Of Pale-mouthed prophet dreaming."

In Moore's Summer Fete, a fancy ball is described, in which one
of the characters personated is Psyche.

"   not in dark disguise to-night
Hath our young heroine veiled her light;
For see, she walks the earth, Love's own.
His wedded bride, by holiest vow
Pledged in Olympus, and made known
To mortals by the type which now
Hangs glittering on her snowy brow,
That butterfly, mysterious trinket,
Which means the soul (though few would think it),
And sparkling thus on brow so white,
Tells us we've Psyche here to-night."

Chapter VII
Cadmus.   The Myrmidons.

Jupiter, under the disguise of a bull, had carried away to the
island of Crete, Europa, the daughter of Agenor king of
Phoenicia.  Agenor commanded his son Cadmus to go in search of
his sister, and not to return without her.  Cadmus went and
sought long and far for his sister, but could not find her, and
not daring to return unsuccessful, consulted the oracle of Apollo
to know what country he should settle in.  The oracle informed
him that he should find a cow in the field, and should follow her
wherever she might wander, and where she stopped, should build a
city and call it Thebes.  Cadmus had hardly left the Castalian
cave, from which the oracle was delivered, when he saw a young
cow slowly walking before him.  He followed her close, offering
at the same time his prayers to Phoebus.  The cow went on till
she passed the shallow channel of Cephisus and came out into the
plain of Panope.  There she stood still, and raising her broad
forehead to the sky, filled the air with her lowings.  Cadmus
gave thanks, and stooping down kissed the foreign soil, then
lifting his eyes, greeted the surrounding mountains. Wishing to
offer a sacrifice to Jupiter, he sent his servants to seek pure
water for a libation.  Nearby there stood an ancient grove which
had never been profaned by the axe, in the midst of which was a
cave, thick covered with the growth of bushes, its roof forming a
low arch, from beneath which burst forth a fountain of purest
water.  In the cave lurked a horrid serpent with a crested head
and scales glittering like gold.  His eyes shone like fire, his
body was swollen with venom, he vibrated a triple tongue, and
showed a triple row of teeth.  No sooner had the Tyrians (Cadmus
and his companions came from Tyre, the chief city of Phoenicia)
dipped their pitchers in the fountain, and the ingushing waters
made a sound, than the glittering serpent raised his head out of
the cave and uttered a fearful hiss.  The vessels fell from their
hands, the blood left their cheeks, they trembled in every limb.
The serpent, twisting his scaly body in a huge coil, raised his
head so as to overtop the tallest trees, and while the Tyrians
from terror could neither fight nor fly, slew some with his
fangs, others in his folds, and others with his poisonous breath.

Cadmus having waited for the return of his men till midday, went
in search of them.  His covering was a lion's hide, and besides
his javelin he carried in his hand a lance, and in his breast a
bold heart, a surer reliance than either.  When he entered the
wood and saw the lifeless bodies of his men, and the monster with
his bloody jaws, he exclaimed, "O faithful friends, I will avenge
you, or share your death."  So saying he lifted a huge stone and
threw it with all his force at the serpent.  Such a block would
have shaken the wall of a fortress, but it made no impression on
the monster.   Cadmus next threw his javelin, which met with
better success, for it penetrated the serpent's scales, and
pierced through to his entrails.  Fierce with pain the monster
turned back his head to view the wound, and attempted to draw out
the weapon with his mouth, but broke it off, leaving the iron
point rankling in his flesh.  His neck swelled with rage, bloody
foam covered his jaws, and the breath of his nostrils poisoned
the air around.  Now he twisted himself into a circle, then
stretched himself out on the ground like the trunk of a fallen
tree.  As he moved onward, Cadmus retreated before him, holding
his spear opposite to the monster's opened jaws.  The serpent
snapped at the weapon and attempted to bite its iron point.  At
last Cadmus, watching his chance, thrust the spear at a moment
when the animal's thrown back came against the trunk of a tree,
and so succeeded in pinning him to its side.  His weight bent the
tree as he struggled in the agonies of death.

While Cadmus stood over his conquered foe, contemplating its vast
size, a voice was heard (from whence he knew not, but he heard it
distinctly), commanding him to take the dragon's teeth and sow
them in the earth.  He obeyed.  He made a furrow in the ground,
and planted the teeth, destined to produce a crop of men.  Scarce
had he done so when the clods began to move, and the points of
spears to appear above the surface.  Next helmets, with their
nodding plumes, came up, and next, the shoulders and breasts and
limbs of men with weapons, and in time a harvest of armed
warriors.  Cadmus, alarmed, prepared to encounter a new enemy,
but one of them said to him, "Meddle not with our civil war."
With that he who had spoken smote one of his earth-born brothers
with a sword, and he himself fell pierced with an arrow from
another.  The latter fell victim to a fourth, and in like manner
the whole crowd dealt with each other till all fell slain with
mutual wounds except five survivors.  One of these cast away his
weapons and said, "Brothers, let us live in peace!"  These five
joined with Cadmus in building his city, to which they gave the
name of Thebes.

Cadmus obtained in marriage Harmonia, the daughter of Venus.  The
gods left Olympus to honor the occasion with their presence, and
Vulcan presented the bride with a necklace of surpassing
brilliancy, his own workmanship.  But a fatality hung over the
family of Cadmus in consequence of his killing the serpent sacred
to Mars.  Semele and Ino, his daughters, and Actaeon and
Pentheius, his grandchildren, all perished unhappily; and Cadmus
and Harmonia quitted Thebes, now grown odious to them, and
emigrated to the country of the Enchelians, who received them
with honor and made Cadmus their king.  But the misfortunes of
their children still weighed upon their minds; and one day Cadmus
exclaimed, "If a serpent's life is so dear to the gods, I would I
were myself a serpent."  No sooner had he uttered the words than
he began to change his form.  Harmonia beheld it, and prayed to
the gods to let her share his fate.  Both became serpents.  They
lie in the woods, but mindful of their origin they neither avoid
the presence of man nor do they ever injure any one.

There is a tradition that Cadmus introduced into Greece the
letters of the alphabet which were invented by the Phoenicians.
This is alluded to by Byron, where, addressing the modern Greeks,
he says:

"You have the letters Cadmus gave,
Think you he meant them for a slave?"

Milton, describing the serpent which tempted Eve, is reminded of
the serpents of the classical stories, and says,

"-----pleasing was his shape,
And lovely; never since of serpent kind
Lovelier; not those that in Illyria changed
Hermione and Cadmus, nor the god
in Epidaurus."

The "god in Epidaurus" was AEsculapius.  Serpents were held
sacred to him.


The Myrmidons were the soldiers of Achilles in the Trojan war.
>From them all zealous and unscrupulous followers of a political
chief are called by that name down to this day.  But the origin
of the Myrmidons would not give one the idea of a fierce and
bloody race, but rather of a laborious and peaceful one.

Cephalus, king of Athens, arrived in the island of AEgina to seek
assistance of his old friend and ally AEacus, the king, in his
wars with Minos, king of Crete.  Cephalus was kindly received,
and the desired assistance readily promised.  "I have people
enough," said AEacus, "to protect myself and spare you such a
force as you need."  "I rejoice to see it," replied Cephalus,
"and my wonder has been raised, I confess, to find such a host of
youths as I see around me, all apparently of about the same age.
Yet there are many individuals whom I previously knew that I look
for now in vain.  What has become of them?"  AEacus groaned, and
replied with a voice of sadness, "I have been intending to tell
you, and will now do so without more delay, that you may see how
from the saddest beginning a happy result sometimes flows.  Those
whom you formerly knew are now dust and ashes!  A plague sent by
angry Juno devastated the land.  She hated it because it bore the
name of one of her husband's female favorites.  While the disease
appeared to spring from natural causes we resisted it as we best
might by natural remedies; but it soon appeared that the
pestilence was too powerful for our efforts, and we yielded.  At
the beginning the sky seemed to settle down upon the earth, and
thick clouds shut in the heated air.  For four months together a
deadly south wind prevailed.  The disorder affected the wells and
springs; thousands of snakes crept over the land and shed their
poison in the fountains.  The force of the disease was first
spent on the lower animals; dogs, cattle, sheep, and birds.  The
luckless ploughman wondered to see his oxen fall in the midst of
their work, and lie helpless in the unfinished furrow.  The wool
fell from the bleating sheep, and their bodies pined away.  The
horse, once foremost in the race, contested the palm no more, but
groaned at his stall, and died an inglorious death.  The wild
boar forgot his rage, the stag his swiftness, the bears no longer
attacked the herds.  Everything languished; dead bodies lay in
the roads, the fields, and the woods; the air was poisoned by
them.  I tell you what is hardly credible, but neither dogs nor
birds would touch them, nor starving wolves.  Their decay spread
the infection.  Next the disease attacked the country people, and
then the dwellers in the city.  At first the cheek was flushed,
and the breath drawn with difficulty.  The tongue grew rough and
swelled, and the dry mouth stood open with its veins enlarged and
gasped for the air.  Men could not bear the heat of their clothes
or their beds, but preferred to lie on the bare ground; and the
ground did not cool them, but on the contrary, they heated the
spot where they lay.  Nor could the physicians help, for the
disease attacked them also, and the contact of the sick gave them
infection, so that the most faithful were the first victims.  At
last all hope of relief vanished and men learned to look upon
death as the only deliverer from disease.  Then they gave way to
every inclination, and cared not to ask what was expedient, for
nothing was expedient.  All restraint laid aside, they crowded
around the wells and fountains, and drank till they died, without
quenching thirst.  Many had not strength to get away from the
water, but died in the midst of the stream, and others would
drink of it notwithstanding.  Such was their weariness of their
sick-beds that some would creep forth, and if not strong enough
to stand, would die on the ground.  They seemed to hate their
friends, and got away from their homes, as if, not knowing the
cause of their sickness, they charged it on the place of their
abode.  Some were seen tottering along the road, as long as they
could stand, while others sank on the earth, and turned their
dying eyes around to take a last look, then closed them in death.

"What heart had I left me, during all this, or what ought I to
have had, except to hate life and wish to be with my dead
subjects?  On all sides lay my people strewn like over-ripened
apples beneath the tree, or acorns under the storm-shaken oak.
You see yonder s temple on the height.  It is sacred to Jupiter.
Oh, how many offered prayers there; husbands for wives, fathers
for sons, and died in the very act of supplication!  How often,
while the priest made ready for sacrifice, the victim fell,
struck down by disease without waiting for the blow.  At length
all reverence for sacred things was lost.  Bodies were thrown out
unburied, wood was wanting for funeral piles, men fought with one
another for the possession of them.  Finally there were none left
to mourn; sons and husbands, old men and youths, perished alike

"Standing before the altar I raised my eyes to heaven.  'Oh,
Jupiter,' I said, 'if thou art indeed my father, and art not
ashamed of thy offspring, give me back my people, or take me also
away!'  At these words a clap of thunder was heard.  'I accept
the omen,' I cried; 'oh, may it be a sign of a favorable
disposition towards me!'  By chance there grew by the place where
I stood an oak with wide-spreading branches, sacred to Jupiter.
I observed a troop of ants busy with their labor, carrying minute
grains in their mouths and following one another in a line up the
trunk of the tree.  Observing their numbers with admiration, I
said, 'Give me, oh father, citizens as numerous as these, and
replenish my empty city.'  The tree shook and gave a rustling
sound with its branches though no wind agitated them.  I trembled
in every limb, yet I kissed the earth and the tree.  I would not
confess to myself that I hoped, yet I did hope.  Night came on
and sleep took possession of my frame oppressed with cares.  The
tree stood before me in my dreams, with its numerous branches all
covered with living, moving creatures.  It seemed to shake its
limbs and throw down over the ground a multitude of those
industrious grain-gathering animals, which appeared to gain in
size, and grow larger, and by-and-by to stand erect, lay aside
their superfluous legs and their black color, and finally to
assume the human form.  Then I awoke, and my first impulse was to
chide the gods who had robbed me of a sweet vision and given me
no reality in its place.  Being still in the temple my attention
was caught by the sound of many voices without; a sound of late
unusual to my ears.  While I began to think I was yet dreaming,
Telamon, my son, throwing open the temple-gates, exclaimed,
'Father, approach, and behold things surpassing even your hopes!'
I went forth; I saw a multitude of men, such as I had seen in my
dream, and they were passing in procession in the same manner.
While I gazed with wonder and delight they approached, and
kneeling, hailed me as their king.  I paid my vows to Jove, and
proceeded to allot the vacant city to the new-born race, and to
parcel out the fields among them.  I called them Myrmidons from
the ant (myrmex), from which they sprang.  You have seen these
persons; their dispositions resemble those which they had in
their former shape.  They are a diligent and industrious race,
eager to gain, and tenacious of their gains.  Among them you may
recruit your forces.  They will follow you to the war, young in
years and bold in heart."

This description of the plague is copied by Ovid from the account
which Thucydides, the Greek historian, gives of the plague of
Athens.  The historian drew from life, and all the poets and
writers of fiction since his day, when they have had occasion to
describe a similar scene, have borrowed their details from him.

Chapter VIII
Nisus and Scylla.   Echo and Narcissus.   Clytie.   Hero and

Minos, king of Crete, made war upon Megara.  Nisus was king of
Megara, and Scylla was his daughter.  The siege had now lasted
six months, and the city still held out, for it was decreed by
fate that it should not be taken so long as a certain purple
lock, which glittered among the hair of King Nisus, remained on
his head.  There was a tower on the city walls, which overlooked
the plain where Minos and his army were encamped.  To this tower
Scylla used to repair, and look abroad over the tents of the
hostile army.  The siege had lasted so long that she had learned
to distinguish the persons of the leaders.  Minos, in particular,
excited her admiration.  She admired his graceful deportment; if
he threw his javelin, skill seemed combined with force in the
discharge; if he drew his bow, Apollo himself could not have done
it more gracefully.  But when he laid aside his helmet, and in
his purple robes bestrode his white horse with its gay
caparisons, and reined in its foaming mouth, the daughter of
Nisus was hardly mistress of herself; she was almost frantic with
admiration.  She envied the weapon that he grasped, the reins
that he held.  She felt as if she could, if it were possible, go
to him through the hostile ranks; she felt an impulse to cast
herself down from the tower into the midst of his camp, or to
open the gates to him, or do anything else, so only it might
gratify Minos.  As she sat in the tower, she talked thus with
herself: "I know not whether to rejoice or grieve at this sad
war.  I grieve that Minos is our enemy; but I rejoice at any
cause that brings him to my sight.  Perhaps he would be willing
to grant us peace, and receive me as a hostage.  I would fly
down, if I could, and alight in his camp, and tell him that we
yield ourselves to his mercy.  But, then, to betray my father!
No!  Rather would I never see Minos again.  And yet no doubt it
is sometimes the best thing for a city to be conquered when the
conqueror is clement and generous.  Minos certainly has right on
his side.  I think we shall be conquered; and if that must be the
end of it, why should not love unbar the gates to him, instead of
leaving it to be done by war?  Better spare delay and slaughter
if we can.  And, oh, if any one should wound or kill Minos!  No
one surely would have the heart to do it; yet ignorantly, not
knowing him, one might.  I will, I will surrender myself to him,
with my country as a dowry, and so put an end to the war.  But
how?  The gates are guarded, and my father keeps the keys; he
only stands in my way.  Oh, that it might please the gods to take
him away! But why ask the gods to do it?  Another woman, loving
as I do, would remove with her own hands whatever stood in the
way of her love.  And can any other woman dare more than I?  I
would encounter fire and sword to gain my object; but here there
is no need of fire and sword.  I only need my father's purple
lock.  More precious than gold to me, that will give me all I

While she thus reasoned night came on, and soon the whole palace
was buried in sleep.  She entered her father's bedchamber and cut
off the fatal lock; then passed out of the city and entered the
enemy's camp.  She demanded to be led to the king, and thus
addressed him: "I am Scylla, the daughter of Nisus.  I surrender
to you my country and my father's house.  I ask no reward but
yourself; for love of you I have done it.  See here the purple
lock!  With this I give you my father and his kingdom."  She held
out her hand with the fatal spoil.  Minos shrunk back and refused
to touch it.  "The gods destroy thee, infamous woman," he
exclaimed; "disgrace of our time!  May neither earth nor sea
yield thee a resting place!  Surely, my Crete, where Jove himself
was cradled, shall not be polluted with such a monster!"  Thus he
said, and gave orders that equitable terms should be allowed to
the conquered city, and that the fleet should immediately sail
from the island.

Scylla was frantic.  "Ungrateful man," she exclaimed, "is it thus
you leave me?   Me who have given you victory,   who have
sacrificed for you parent and country!  I am guilty, I confess,
and deserve to die, by not by your hand."  As the ships left the
shore, she leaped into the water, and seizing the rudder of the
one which carried Minos, she was borne along an unwelcome
companion of their course.  A sea-eagle soaring aloft,   it was
her father who had been changed into that form,   seeing her,
pounced down upon her, and struck her with his beak and claws.
In terror she let go the ship, and would have fallen into the
water, but some pitying deity changed her into a bird.  The sea-
eagle still cherishes the old animosity; and whenever he espies
her in his lofty flight, you may see him dart down upon her, with
beak and claws, to take vengeance for the ancient crime.


Echo was a beautiful nymph, fond of the woods and hills, where
she devoted herself to woodland sports.  She was a favorite of
Diana, and attended her in the chase.  But Echo had one failing;
she was fond of talking, and whether in chat or argument would
have the last word.  One day Juno was seeking her husband, who,
she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the nymphs.
Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess till the nymphs
made their escape.  When Juno discovered it, she passed sentence
upon Echo in these words: "You shall forfeit the use of that
tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one
purpose you are so fond of   REPLY.  You shall still have the
last word, but no power to speak first."

This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the
chase upon the mountains.  She loved him, and followed his
footsteps.  Oh, how she longed to address him in the softest
accents, and win him to converse, but it was not in her power.
She waited with impatience for him to speak first, and had her
answer ready.  One day the youth, being separated from his
companions, shouted aloud, "Who's here?"  Echo replied, "Here."
Narcissus looked around, but seeing no one, called out, "Come."
Echo answered, "Come."  As no one came, Narcissus called again,
"Why do you shun me?"  Echo asked the same question.  "Let us
join one another," said the youth.  The maid answered with all
her heart in the same words, and hastened to the spot, ready to
throw her arms about his neck.  He started back, exclaiming,
"Hands off!  I would rather die than you should have me."  "Have
me," said she; but it was all in vain.  He left her, and she went
to hide her blushes in the recesses of the woods.  From that time
forth she lived in caves and among mountain cliffs.  Her form
faded with grief, till at last all her flesh shrank away.  Her
bones were changed into rocks, and there was nothing left of her
but her voice.  With that she is still ready to reply to any one
who calls her, and keeps up her old habit of having the last

Narcissus was cruel not in this case alone.  He shunned all the
rest of the nymphs as he had done poor Echo.  One day a maiden,
who had in vain endeavored to attract him, uttered a prayer that
he might some time or other feel what it was to love and meet no
return of affection.  The avenging goddess heard and granted the

There was a clear fountain, with water like silver, to which the
shepherds never drove their flocks.  Nor did the mountain goats
resort to it, nor any of the beasts of the forest; neither was it
defaced with fallen leaves or branches; but the grass grew fresh
around it, and the rocks sheltered it from the sun.  Hither came
one day the youth fatigued with hunting, heated and thirsty.  He
stooped down to drink, and saw his own image in the water; he
thought it was some beautiful water=spirit living in the
fountain.  He stood gazing with admiration at those bright eyes,
those locks curled like the locks of Bacchus or Apollo, the
rounded cheeks, the ivory neck, the parted lips, and the glow of
health and exercise over all.  He fell in love with himself.  He
brought his lips near to take a kiss; he plunged his arms in to
embrace the beloved object.  It fled at the touch, but returned
again after a moment and renewed the fascination.  He could not
tear himself away; he lost all thought of food or rest, while he
hovered over the brink of the fountain gazing upon his own image.
He talked with the supposed spirit: "Why, beautiful being, do you
shun me?  Surely my face is not one to repel you.  The nymphs
love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me.  When I
stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and
answer my beckonings with the like."  His tears fell into the
water and disturbed the image.  As he saw it depart, he
exclaimed, "Stay, I entreat you! Let me at least gaze upon you,
if I may not touch you."   With this, and much more of the same
kind, he cherished the flame that consumed him, so that by
degrees he lost his color, his vigor, and the beauty which
formerly had so charmed the nymph Echo.  She kept near him,
however, and when he exclaimed, "Alas!  Alas!" she answered him
with the same words.  He pined away and died; and when his shade
passed the Stygian river, it leaned over the boat to catch a look
of itself in the waters.  The nymphs mourned for him, especially
the water-nymphs; and when they smote their breasts, Echo smote
hers also.  They prepared a funeral pile, and would have burned
the body, but it was nowhere to be found; but in its place a
flower, purple within, and surrounded with white leaves, which
bears the name and preserves the memory of Narcissus.

Milton alludes to the story of Echo and Narcissus in the Lady's
song in Comus.  She is seeking her brothers in the forest, and
sings to attract their attention.

"Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Within thy aery shell
By slow Meander's margent green.
And in the violet-embroidered vale,
Where the love-lorn nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well;
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likes thy Narcissus are?
Oh, if thou have
Hid them in some flowery cave,
Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies."

Milton has imitated the story of Narcissus in the account which
he makes Eve give of the first sight of herself reflected in the

"That day I oft remember when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved
Pure as the expanse of heaven; I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake that to me seemed another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appeared,
Bending to look on me.  I started back;
It started back; but pleased I soon returned,
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love.  There had I fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me: 'What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself.'"
Paradise Lost, Book IV

The fable of Narcissus is often alluded to by the poets.  Here
are two epigrams which treat it in different ways.  The first is
by Goldsmith:


"Sure 'twas by Providence designed,
Rather in pity than in hate,
That he should be like Cupid blind,
To save him from Narcissus' fate"

The other is by Cowper:


"Beware, my friend, of crystal brook
Or fountain, lest that hideous hook.
Thy nose, thou chance to see;
Narcissus' fate would then be thine,
And self-detested thou would'st pine,
As self-enamored he."


Clytie was a water-nymph and in love with Apollo, who made her no
return.  So she pined away, sitting all day long upon the cold
ground, with her unbound tresses streaming over her shoulders.
Nine days she sat and tasted neither food nor drink, her own
tears and the chilly dew her only food.  She gazed on the sun
when he rose, and as he passed through his daily course to his
setting; she saw no other object, her face turned constantly on
him.  At last, they say, her limbs rooted in the ground, her face
became a sunflower, which turns on its stem so as always to face
the sun throughout its daily course; for it retains to that
extent the feeling of the nymph from whom it sprang.

One of the best known of the marble busts discovered in our own
time, generally bears the name of Clytie.  It has been very
frequently copied in plaster.  It represents the head of a young
girl looking down,   the neck and shoulders being supported in
the cup of a large flower,   which by a little effort of
imagination can be made into a giant sunflower.  The latest
supposition, however, is that this bust represented not Clytie,
but Isis.

Hood in his Flowers thus alludes to Clytie:

"I will not have the mad Clytie,
Whose head is turned by the sun;
The tulip is a courtly quean,
Whom therefore I will shun;
The cowslip is a country wench,
The violet is a nun;
But I will woo the dainty rose,
The queen of every one."

The sunflower is a favorite emblem of constancy.  Thus Moore uses

"The heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close;
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look that she turned when he rose."

It is only for convenience that the modern poets translate the
Latin word HELIOTROPIUM, by the English sunflower.  The
sunflower, which was known to the ancients, was called in Greek,
helianthos, from HELIOS, the sun; and ANTHOS a flower, and in
Latin, helianthus.  It derives its name from its resemblance to
the sun; but, as any one may see, at sunset, it does not "turn to
the God when he sets the same look that it turned when he rose."

The Heliotrope of the fable of Clytie is called Turn-sole in old
English books, and such a plant is known in England.  It is not
the sweet heliotrope of modern gardens, which is a South American
plant.  The true classical heliotrope is probably to be found in
the heliotrope of southern France,   a weed not known in America.
The reader who is curious may examine the careful account of it
in Larousse's large dictionary.


Leander was a youth of Abydos, a town of the Asian side of the
strait which separates Asia and Europe.  On the opposite shore in
the town of Sestos lived the maiden Hero, a priestess of Venus.
Leander loved her, and used to swim the strait nightly to enjoy
the company of his mistress, guided by a torch which she reared
upon the tower, for the purpose.  But one night a tempest arose
and the sea was rough; his strength failed, and he was drowned.
The waves bore his body to the European shore, where Hero became
aware of his death, and in her despair cast herself down from the
tower into the sea and perished.

The following sonnet is by Keats:


"Come hither, all sweet maidens, soberly,
Down looking aye, and with a chasten'd light,
Hid in the fringes of your eyelids white,
And meekly let your fair hands joined be,
As if so gentle that ye could not see,
Untouch'd, a victim of your beauty bright,
Sinking away to his young spirit's night,
Sinking bewilder'd 'mid the dreary sea.
'Tis young Leander toiling to his death.
Nigh swooning, he doth purse his weary lips
For Hero's cheek, and smiles against her smile.
Oh, horrid dream!  See how his body dips
Dead-heavy; arms and shoulders gleam awhile;
He's gone; up bubbles all his amorous breath!"

The story of Leander's swimming the Hellespont was looked upon as
fabulous, and the feat considered impossible, till Lord Byron
proved its possibility by performing it himself.  In the Bride of
Abydos he says,

"These limbs that buoyant wave hath borne."

The distance in the narrowest part is almost a mile, and there is
a constant current setting out from the Sea of Marmora into the
Archipelago.  Since Byron's time the feat has been achieved by
others; but it yet remains a test of strength and skill in the
art of swimming sufficient to give a wide and lasting celebrity
to any one of our readers who may dare to make the attempt and
succeed in accomplishing it.

In the beginning of the second canto of the same poem, Byron
alludes to this story:

"The winds are high on Helle's wave,
As on that night of stormiest water,
When Love, who sent, forgot to save
The young, the beautiful, the brave,
The lonely hope of Sestos' daughter.
Oh, when alone along the sky
The turret-torch was blazing high,
Though rising gale and breaking foam,
And shrieking sea-birds warned him home;
And clouds aloft and tides below,
With signs and sounds forbade to go,
He could not see, he would not hear
Or sound or sight foreboding fear.
His eye but saw that light of love,
The only star it hailed above;
His ear but rang with Hero's song,
'Ye waves, divide not lovers long.'
That tale is old, but love anew
May nerve young hearts to prove as true."

The subject has been a favorite one with sculptors.

Schiller has made one of his finest ballads from the tragic fate
of the two lovers.  The following verses are a translation from
the latter part of the ballad:

"Upon Hellespont's broad currents
Night broods black, and rain in torrents
>From the cloud's full bosom pours;
Lightnings in the sky are flashing,
All the storms below are dashing
On the crag-piled shores.
Awful chasms gaping widely,
Separate the mountain waves;
Ocean yawning as to open
Downward e'en to Pluto's caves."

After the storm has arisen, Hero sees the danger, and cries,

"Woe, ah!  Woe; great Jove have pity,
Listen to my sad entreaty,
Yet for what can Hero pray?
Should the gods in pity listen,
He, e'en now the false abyss in,
Struggles with the tempest's spray.
All the birds that skim the wave
In hasty flight are hieing home;
T the lee of safer haven
All the storm-tossed vessels come.

"Ah!  I know he laughs at danger,
Dares again the frequent venture,
Lured by an almighty power;
For he swore it when we parted,
With the vow which binds true-hearted
Lovers to the latest hour.
Yes!  Even as this moment hastens
Battles he the wave-crests rude,
And to their unfathomed chasms
Dags him down the angry flood.

"Pontus false!  Thy sunny smile
Was the lying traitor's guile,
Like a mirror flashing there:
All thy ripples gently playing
Til they triumphed in betraying
Him into thy lying snare.
Now in thy mid-current yonder,
Onward still his course he urges,
Thou the false, on him the fated
Pouring loose thy terror-surges.
Waxes high the tempest's danger,
Waves to mountains rise in anger,
Oceans swell, and breakers dash,
Foaming, over cliffs of rock
Where even navies, stiff with oak,
Could not bear the crash.
In the gale her torch is blasted,
Beacon of the hoped-for strand;
Horror broods above the waters,
Horror broods above the land.

Prays she Venus to assuage
The hurricane's increasing rage,
And to sooth the billows' scorn.
And as gale on gale arises,
Vows to each   as sacrifices
Spotless steer with gilded horn.
To all the goddesses below,
To "all the gods in heaven that be,"
She prays that oil of peace may flow
Softly on the storm-tossed sea.

Blest Leucothea, befriend me!
>From cerulean halls attend me;
Hear my prayer of agony.
In the ocean desert's raving,
Storm-tossed seamen, succor craving,
Find in thee their helper nigh.
Wrap him in thy charmed veil,
Secret spun and secret wove,
Certain from the deepest wave
To lift him to its crests above."

Now the tempests wild are sleeping,
And from the horizon creeping
Rays of morning streak the skies,
Peaceful as it lay before
The placid sea reflects the shore,
Skies kiss waves and waves the skies.
Little ripples, lightly plashing,
Break upon the rock-bound strand,
And they trickle, lightly playing
O'er a corpse upon the sand.

Yes, 'tis he!  Although he perished,
Still his sacred troth he cherished,
An instant's glance tells all to her;
Not a tear her eye lets slip
Not a murmur leaves her lip;
Down she looks in cold despair;
Gazes round the desert sea,
Trustless gazes round the sky,
Flashes then of noble fire
Through her pallid visage fly!

"Yes, I know, ye mighty powers,
Ye have drawn the fated hours
Pitiless and cruel on.
Early full my course is over.
Such a course with such a lover;
Such a share of joy I've known.
Venus, queen, within thy temple,
Thou hast known me vowed as thine,
Now accept thy willing priestess
As an offering at thy shrine."

Downward then, while all in vain her
Fluttering robes would still sustain her,
Springs she into Pontus' wave;
Grasping him and her, the god
Whirls them in his deepest flood,
And, himself, becomes their grave.
With his prizes then contented,
Peaceful bids his waters glide,
>From the unexhausted vessels,
Whence there streams an endless tide.

Chapter IX
Minerva and Arachne.   Niobe.   The Story of Perseus

Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, was the daughter of Jupiter.
She, they say, sprang forth from his brain full grown and clad in
complete armor.  She presided over the useful and ornamental
arts, both those of men,   such as agriculture and navigation,
and those of women,   spinning, weaving, and needle-work.  She
was also a warlike divinity; but a lover of defensive war only.
She had no sympathy with Mars's savage love of violence and
bloodshed.  Athens was her chosen seat, her own city, awarded to
her as the prize of a contest with Neptune, who also aspired to
it.  The tale ran that in the reign of Cecrops, the first king of
Athens, the two deities contended for the possession of the city.
The gods decreed that it should be awarded to that one who
produced the gift most useful to mortals.  Neptune gave the
horse; Minerva produced the olive.  The gods gave judgment that
the olive was the more useful of the two, and awarded the city to
the goddess; and it was named after her, Athens, her name in
Greek being Athene.

In another contest, a mortal dared to come in competition with
Minerva.  That mortal was Arachne, a maiden who had attained such
skill in the arts of weaving and embroidery that the nymphs
themselves would leave their groves and fountains to come and
gaze upon her work.  It was not only beautiful when it was done,
but beautiful also in the doing. To watch her, as she took the
wool in its rude state and formed it into rolls, or separated it
with her fingers and carded it till it looked as light and soft
as a cloud, or twirled the spindle with skilful touch, or wove
the web, or, when woven, adorned it with her needle, one would
have said that Minerva herself had taught her.  But this she
denied, and could not bear to be thought a pupil even of a
goddess.  "Let Minerva try her skill with mine," said she; "if
beaten, I will pay the penalty."  Minerva heard this and was
displeased.  Assuming the form of an old woman, she went and gave
Arachne some friendly advice.  "I have had much experience,: said
she, "and I hope you will not despise my counsel.  Challenge your
fellow-mortals as you will, but do not compete with a goddess.
On the contrary, I advise you to ask her forgiveness for what you
have said, and, as she is merciful, perhaps she will pardon you."
Arachne stopped her spinning, and looked at the old dame with
anger in her countenance.  "Keep your counsel," said she, "for
your daughters or handmaids; for my part, I know what I say, and
I stand to it.  I am not afraid of the goddess; let her try her
skill, if she dare venture."  "She comes," said Minerva; and
dropping her disguise, stood confessed.  The nymphs bent low in
homage, and all the bystanders paid reverence.  Arachne alone was
unterrified.  She blushed, indeed; a sudden color dyed her cheek,
and then she grew pale.  But she stood to her resolve, and with a
foolish conceit of her own skill rushed on her fate.  Minerva
forbore no longer, nor interposed any further advice.  They
proceed to the contest.  Each takes her station and attaches the
web to the beam.  Then the slender shuttle is passed in and out
among the threads.  The reed with its fine teeth strikes up the
woof into its place and compacts the web.  Both work with speed;
their skilful hands move rapidly, and the excitement of the
contest makes the labor light.  Wool of Tyrian dye is contrasted
with that of other colors, shaded off into one another so
adroitly that the joining deceives the eye.  Like the bow, whose
long arch tinges the heavens, formed by sunbeams reflected from
the shower (this description of the rainbow is literally
translated rom Ovid), in which, where the colors meet they seem
as one, but at a little distance from the point of contact are
wholly different.

Minerva wrought on her web the scene of her contest with Neptune.
Twelve of the heavenly powers are represented, Jupiter, with
August gravity, sitting in the midst.  Neptune, the ruler of the
sea, holds his trident, and appears to have just smitten the
earth, from which a horse has leaped forth.  Minerva depicted
herself with helmed head, her AEgis covering her breast.  Such
was the central circle; and in the four corners were represented
incidents illustrating the displeasure of the gods at such
presumptuous mortals as had dared to contend with them.  These
were meant as warnings to her rival to give up the contest before
it was too late.

Arachne filled her web with subjects designedly chosen to exhibit
the failings and errors of the gods.  One scene represented Leda
caressing the swan, under which form Jupiter had disguised
himself; and another, Danae, in the brazen tower in which her
father had imprisoned her, but where the god effected his
entrance in the form of a shower of gold.  Still another depicted
Europa deceived by Jupiter under the disguise of a bull.
Encouraged by the tameness of the animal, Europa ventured to
mount his back, whereupon Jupiter advanced into the sea, and swam
with her to Crete.  You would have thought it was a real bull so
naturally was it wrought, and so natural was the water in which
it swam.  She seemed to look with longing eyes back upon the
shore she was leaving, and to call to her companions for help.
She appeared to shudder with terror at the sight of the heaving
waves, and to draw back her feet from the water.

Arachne filled her canvas with these and like subjects,
wonderfully well done, but strongly marking her presumption and
impiety.  Minerva could not forbear to admire, yet felt indignant
at the insult.  She struck the web with her shuttle, and rent it
in pieces; she then touched the forehead of Arachne, and made her
feel her guilt and shame.  She could not endure it, and went and
hanged herself.  Minerva pitied her as she saw her hanging by a
rope.  "Live, guilty woman," said she; " and that you may
preserve the memory of this lesson, continue to hang, you and
your descendants, to all future times."  She sprinkled her with
the juices of aconite, and immediately her hair came off, and her
nose and ears likewise.  Her form shrank up, and her head grew
smaller yet; her fingers grew to her side, and served for legs.
All the rest of her is body, out of which she spins her thread,
often hanging suspended by it, in the same attitude as when
Minerva touched her and transformed her into a spider.

Spenser tells the story of Arachne in his Muiopotmos, adhering
very closely to his master Ovid, but improving upon him in the
conclusion of the story.  The two stanzas which follow tell what
was done after the goddess had depicted her creation of the olive

"Amongst these leaves she made a Butterfly,
With excellent device and wondrous slight,
Fluttering among the olives wantonly,
That seemed to live, so like it was in sight;
The velvet nap which on his wings doth lie,
The silken down with which his back is dight,
His broad outstretched horns, his hairy thighs,
His glorious colors, and his glistening eyes."

"Which when Arachne saw, as overlaid
And mastered with workmanship so rare.
She stood astonished long, ne aught gainsaid;
And with fast-fixed eyes on her did stare,
And by her silence, sign of one dismayed,
The victory did yield her as her share;
Yet did she inly fret and felly burn,
And all her blood to poisonous rancor turn."

And so the metamorphosis is caused by Arachne's own mortification
and vexation, and not by any direct act of the goddess.

The following specimen of old-fashioned gallantry is by Garrick:


"Arachne once, as poets tell,
A goddess at her art defied,
And soon the daring mortal fell
The hapless victim of her pride.

"Oh, then, beware Arachne's fate;
Be prudent, Chloe, and submit,
For you'll most surely meet her hate,
Who rival both her art and wit."

Tennyson, in his Palace of Art, describing the works of art with
which the palace was adorned, thus alludes to Europa:

"------ sweet Europa's mantle blew unclasped
>From off her shoulder, backward borne,
>From one hand drooped a crocus, one hand grasped
The mild bull's golden horn."

In his Princess there is this allusion to Danae:

"Now lies the earth all Danae to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me."


The fate of Arachne was noised abroad through all the country,
and served as a warning to all presumptuous mortals not to
compare themselves with the divinities.  But one, and she a
matron too, failed to learn the lesson of humility.  It was
Niobe, the queen of Thebes.  She had indeed much to be proud of;
but it was not her husband's fame, nor her own beauty, nor their
great descent, nor the power of their kingdom that elated her.
It was her children; and truly the happiest of mothers would
Niobe have been, if only she had not claimed to be so.  It was on
occasion of the annual celebration in honor of Latona and her
offspring,   Apollo and Diana,   when the people of Thebes were
assembled, their brows crowned with laurel, bearing frankincense
to the altars and paying their vows,   that Niobe appeared among
the crowd.  Her attire was splendid with gold and gems, and her
face as beautiful as the face of an angry woman can be.  She
stood and surveyed the people with haughty looks.  "What folly,"
said she, "is this!   to prefer beings whom you never saw to
those who stand before your eyes!  Why should Latona be honored
with worship rather than I?  My father was Tantalus, who was
received as a guest at the table of the gods; my mother was a
goddess.  My husband built and rules this city, Thebes; and
Phrygia is my paternal inheritance.  Wherever I turn my eyes I
survey the elements of my power; nor is my form and presence
unworthy of a goddess.  To all this let me add, I have seven sons
and seven daughters, and look for sons-in-law and daughters-in-
law of pretensions worthy of my alliance.  Have I not cause for
pride?  Will you prefer to me this Latona, the Titan's daughter,
with her two children?  I have seven times as many.  Fortunate
indeed am I, and fortunate I shall remain!  Will any one deny
this?  My abundance is my security.  I feel myself too strong for
Fortune to subdue.  She may take from me much; I shall still have
much left.  Were I to lose some of my children, I should hardly
be left as poor as Latona with her two only.  Away with you from
these solemnities,   put off the laurel from your brows,   have
done with this worship!"  The people obeyed, and left the sacred
services uncompleted.

The goddess was indignant.  On top of Mount Cynthus where she
dwelt, she thus addressed her son and daughter: "My children, I
who have been so proud of you both, and have been used to hold
myself second to none of the goddesses except Juno alone, begin
now to doubt whether I am indeed a goddess.  I shall be deprived
of my worship altogether unless you protect me."  She was
proceeding in this strain, but Apollo interrupted her.  "Say no
more," said he; "speech only delays punishment."  So said Diana
also.  Darting through the air, veiled in clouds, they alighted
on the towers of the city.  Spread out before the gates was a
broad plain, where the youth of the city pursued their warlike
sports.  The sons of Niobe were there among the rest,   some
mounted on spirited horses richly caparisoned, some driving gay
chariots.  Ismenos, the first-born, as he guided his foaming
steeds, struck with an arrow from above, cried out, "Ah, me!"
dropped the reins and fell lifeless.  Another, hearing the sound
of the bow,   like a boatman who sees the storm gathering and
makes all sail for the port,   gave the rein to his horses and
attempted to escape.  The inevitable arrow overtook him as he
fled.  Two others, younger boys, just from their tasks, had gone
to the playground to have a game of wrestling.  As they stood
breast to breast, one arrow pierced them both.  They uttered a
cry together, together cast a parting look around them, and
together breathed their last.  Alphenor, an elder brother, seeing
them fall, hastened to the spot to render them assistance, and
fell stricken in the act of brotherly duty.  One only was left,
Ilioneus.  He raised his arms to heaven to try whether prayer
might not avail.  "Spare me, ye gods!" he cried, addressing all,
in his ignorance that all needed not his intercession; and Apollo
would have spared him, but the arrow had already left the string,
and it was too late.

The terror of the people and grief of the attendants soon made
Niobe acquainted with what had taken place.  She could hardly
think it possible; she was indignant that the gods had dared and
amazed that they had been able to do it.  Her husband, Amphion,
overwhelmed with the blow, destroyed himself.  Alas!  How
different was this Niobe from her who had so lately driven away
the people from the sacred rites, and held her stately course
through the city, the envy of her friends, now the pity even of
her foes!  She knelt over the lifeless bodies, and kissed, now
one, now another of her dead sons.  Raising her pallid arms to
heaven, "Cruel Latona," said she, "feed full your rage with my
anguish!  Satiate your hard heart, while I follow to the grave my
seven sons.  Yet where is your triumph?  Bereaved as I am, I am
still richer than you, my conqueror.  Scarce had she spoken when
the bow sounded and struck terror into all hearts except Niobe's
alone.  She was brave from excess of grief.  The sisters stood in
garments of mourning over the biers of their dead brothers.  One
fell, struck by an arrow, and died on the corpse she was
bewailing.  Another, attempting to console her mother, suddenly
ceased to speak, and sank lifeless to the earth.  A third tried
to escape by flight, a fourth by concealment, another stood
trembling, uncertain what course to take.  Six were now dead, and
only one remained, whom the mother held clasped in her arms, and
covered as it were with her whole body.

"Spare me one, and that the youngest!  Oh, spare me one of so
many?!" she cried; and while she spoke, that one fell dead.
Desolate she sat, among sons, daughters, husband, all dead, and
seemed torpid with grief.  The breeze moved not her hair, nor
color was on her cheek, her eyes glared fixed and immovable,
there was no sign of life about her.  Her very tongue clave to
the roof of her mouth, and her veins ceased to convey the tide of
life.  Her neck bent not, her arms made no gesture, her foot no
step.  She was changed to stone, within and without.  Yet tears
continued to flow; and, borne on a whirlwind to her native
mountain, she still remains, a mass of rock, from which a
trickling stream flows, the tribute of her never-ending grief.

The story of Niobe has furnished Byron with a fine illustration
of the fallen condition of modern Rome:

"The Niobe of nations!  There she stands,
Childless and crownless in her voiceless woe;
An empty urn within her withered hands,
Whose holy dust was scattered long ago;
The Scipios' tomb contains no ashes now;
The very sepulchres lie tenantless
Of their heroic dwellers; dost thou flow,
Old Tiber!  Through a marble wilderness?
Rise with thy yellow waves, and mantle her distress."
Childe Harold, IV.79

The slaughter of the children of Niobe by Apollo, alludes to the
Greek belief that pestilence and illness were sent by Apollo, and
one dying by sickness was said to be struck by Apollo's arrow.
It is to this that Morris alludes in the Earthly Paradise:

"While from the freshness of his blue abode,
Glad his death-bearing arrows to forget,
The broad sun blazed, nor scattered plagues as yet."

Our illustration of this story is a copy of a celebrated statue
in the imperial gallery of Florence.  It is the principal figure
of a group supposed to have been originally arranged in the
pediment of a temple.  The figure of the mother clasped by the
arm of her terrified child, is one of the most admired of the
ancient statues.  It ranks with the Laocoon and the Apollo among
the masterpieces of art.  The following is a translation of a
Greek epigram supposed to relate to this statue:

"To stone the gods have changed her, but in vain;
The sculptor's art has made her breathe again."

Tragic as is the story of Niobe we cannot forbear to smile at the
use Moore has made of it in Rhymes on the Road:

"'Twas in his carriage the sublime
Sir Richard Blackmore used to rhyme,
And, if the wits don't do him wrong,
'Twixt death and epics passed his time,
Scribbling and killing all day long;
Like Phoebus in his car at ease,
Now warbling forth a lofty song,
Now murdering the young Niobes."

Sir Richard Blackmore was a physician, and at the same time a
very prolific and very tasteless poet, whose works are now
forgotten, unless when recalled to mind by some wit like Moore
for the sake of a joke.


The Graeae were three sisters who were gray-haired from their
birth, whence their name.  The Gorgons were monstrous females
with huge teeth like those of swine, brazen claws, and snaky
hair.  They also were three in number, two of them immortal, but
the other, Medusa, mortal.  None of these beings make much figure
in mythology except Medusa, the Gorgon, whose story we shall next
advert to.  We mention them chiefly to introduce an ingenious
theory of some modern writers, namely, that the Gorgons and
Graeae were only personifications of the terrors of the sea, the
former denoting the STRONG billows of the wide open main, and the
latter the WHITE-crested waves that dash against the rocks of the
coast.  Their names in Greek signify the above epithets.


Acrisius was the king who ruled in Argos.  To him had an oracle
declared that he should be slain by the child of his daughter
Danae.  Therefore the cruel king, thinking it better that Danae
should have no children than that he should be slain, ordered a
tower of brass to be made, and in this tower he confined his
daughter away from all men.

But who can withstand Jupiter?  He saw Danae, loved her, and
changing his form to a shower of gold, he shone into the
apartment of the captive girl.

Perseus was the child of Jupiter and Danae.  Acrisius, finding
that his precautions had come to nought, and yet hardly daring to
kill his own daughter and her young child, placed them both in a
chest and sent the chest floating on the sea.  It floated away
and was finally entangled in the net of Dicte, a fisherman in the
island of Seriphus.  He brought them to his house and treated
them kindly, and in the house of Dicte, Perseus grew up.  When
Perseus was grown up, Polydectes, king of that country, wishing
to send Perseus to his death, bade him go in quest of the head of
Medusa.  Medusa had once been a beautiful maiden, whose hair was
her chief glory, but as she dared to vie in beauty with Minerva,
the goddess deprived her of her charms and changed her beautiful
ringlets into hissing serpents.  She became a cruel monster of so
frightful an aspect that no living thing could behold her without
being turned into stone.  All around the cavern where she dwelt
might be seen the stony figures of men and beasts which had
chanced to catch a glimpse of her and had been petrified with the
sight.  Minerva and Mercury aided Perseus.  From Minerva, Perseus
borrowed her shield, and from Mercury the winged shoes and the
harpe or crooked sword.  After having flown all over the earth
Perseus espied in the bright shield the image of Medusa and her
two immortal sisters.  Flying down carefully he cut at her with
his harpe and severed her head.  Putting the trophy in his pouch
he flew away just as the two immortal sisters were awakened by
the hissings of their snaky locks.


After the slaughter of Medusa, Perseus, bearing with him the head
of the Gorgon, flew far and wide, over land and sea.  As night
came on, he reached the western limit of the earth, where the sun
goes down.  Here he would gladly have rested till morning.  It
was the realm of King Atlas, whose bulk surpassed that of all
other men.  He was rich in flocks and herds and had no neighbor
or rival to dispute his state.  But his chief pride was in his
gardens, whose fruit was of gold, hanging from golden branches,
half hid with golden leaves.  Perseus said to him, "I come as a
guest.  If you honor illustrious descent, I claim Jupiter for my
father; if mighty deeds, I plead the conquest of the Gorgon.  I
seek rest and food."  But Atlas remembered that an ancient
prophecy had warned him that a son of Jove should one day rob him
of his golden apples.  So he answered, "Begone! Or neither your
false claims of glory nor of parentage shall protect you;" and he
attempted to thrust him out.  Perseus, finding the giant too
strong for him, said, "Since you value my friendship so little,
deign to accept a present;" and turning his face away, he held up
the Gorgon's head.  Atlas, with all his bulk, was changed into
stone.  His beard and hair became forests, his arms and shoulders
cliffs, his head a summit, and his bones rocks.  Each part
increased in bulk till he became a mountain, and (such was the
pleasure of the gods) heaven with all its stars rests upon his

And all in vain was Atlas turned to a mountain, for the oracle
did not mean Perseus, but the hero Hercules, who should come long
afterwards to get the golden apples for his cousin Eurystheus.

Perseus, continuing his flight, arrived at the country of the
AEthiopians, of which Cepheus was king.  Cassiopeia, his queen,
proud of her beauty, had dared to compare herself to the Sea-
Nymphs, which roused their indignation to such a degree that they
sent a prodigious sea-monster to ravage the coast.  To appease
the deities, Cepheus was directed hy the oracle to expose his
daughter Andromeda to be devoured by the monster.  As Perseus
looked down from his aerial height he beheld the virgin chained
to a rock, and waiting the approach of the serpent.  She was so
pale and motionless that if it had not been for her flowing tears
and her hair that moved in the breeze, he would have taken her
for a marble statue.  He was so startled at the sight that he
almost forgot to wave his wings.  As he hovered over her he said,
"O virgin, undeserving of those chains, but rather of such as
bind fond lovers together, tell me, I beseech you, your name and
the name of your country, and why you are thus bound."  At first
she was silent from modesty, and, if she could, would have hid
her face with her hands; but when he repeated his questions, for
fear she might be thought guilty of some fault which she dared
not tell, she disclosed her name and that of her country, and her
mother's pride of beauty.  Before she had done speaking, a sound
was heard off upon the water, and the sea-monster appeared, with
his head raised above the surface, cleaving the waves with his
broad breast.  The virgin shrieked, the father and mother who had
now arrived at the scene, wretched both, but the mother more
justly so, stood by, not able to afford protection, but only to
pour forth lamentations and to embrace the victim.  Then spoke
Perseus: "There will be time enough for tears; this hour is all
we have for rescue.  My rank as the son of Jove and my renown as
the slayer of the Gorgon might make me acceptable as a suitor;
but I will try to win her by services rendered, if the gods will
only be propitious.  If she be rescued by my valor, I demand that
she be my reward."  The parents consent (how could they
hesitate?) And promise a royal dowry with her.

And now the monster was within the range of a stone thrown by a
skilful slinger, when with a sudden bound the youth soared into
the air.  As an eagle, when from his lofty flight he sees a
serpent basking in the sun, pounces upon him and seizes him by
the neck to prevent him from turning his head round and using his
fangs, so the youth darted down upon the back of the monster and
plunged his sword into its shoulder.  Irritated by the wound the
monster raised himself into the air, then plunged into the depth;
then, like a wild boar surrounded by a pack of barking dogs,
turned swiftly from side to side, while the youth eluded its
attacks by means of his wings.  Wherever he can find a passage
for his sword between the scales he makes a wound, piercing now
the side, now the flank, as it slopes towards the tail.  The
brute spouts from his nostrils water mixed with blood.  The wings
of the hero are wet with it, and he dares no longer trust to
them.   Alighting on a rock which rose above the waves, and
holding on by a projecting fragment, as the monster floated near
he gave him a death-stroke.  The people who had gathered on the
shore shouted so that the hills re-echoed to the sound.  The
parents, transported with joy, embraced their future son-in-law,
calling him their deliverer and the savior of their house, and
the virgin, both cause and reward of the contest, descended from
the rock.

Cassiopeia was an Aethiopian, and consequently, in spite of her
boasted beauty, black; at least so Milton seems to have thought,
who alludes to this story in his Penseroso, where he addresses
Melancholy as the

"------- goddess, sage and holy,
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And, therefore, to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue.
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starred Aethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The Sea-nymphs, and their powers offended."

Cassiopeia is called "the starred Aethiop queen," because after
her death she was placed among the stars, forming the
constellation of that name.  Though she attained this honor, yet
the Sea-Nymphs, her old enemies, prevailed so far as to cause her
to be placed in that part of the heaven near the pole, where
every night she is half the time held with her head downward, to
give her a lesson of humility.

"Prince Memnon" was the son of Aurora and Tithonus, of whom we
shall hear later.


The joyful parents, with Perseus and Andromeda, repaired to the
palace, where a banquet was spread for them, and all was joy and
festivity.  But suddenly a noise was heard of war-like clamor,
and Phineus, the betrothed of the virgin, with a party of his
adherents, burst in, demanding the maiden as his own.  It was in
vain that Cepheus remonstrated,   "You should have claimed her
when she lay bound to the rock, the monster's victim.  The
sentence of the gods dooming her to such a fate dissolved all
engagements, as death itself would have done.:" Phineus made no
reply, but hurled his javelin at Perseus, but it missed its mark
and fell harmless.  Perseus would have thrown his in turn, but
the cowardly assailant ran and took shelter behind the altar.
But his act was a signal for an onset by his band upon the guests
of Cepheus.  They defended themselves and a general conflict
ensued, the old king retreating from the scene after fruitless
expostulations, calling the gods to witness that he was guiltless
of this outrage on the rights of hospitality.

Perseus and his friends maintained for some time the unequal
contest; but the numbers of the assailants were too great for
them, and destruction seemed inevitable, when a sudden thought
struck Perseus: "I will make my enemy defend me."  Then, with a
loud voice he exclaimed, :If I have any friend here let him turn
away his eyes!" and held aloft the Gorgon's head.  "Seek not to
frighten us with your jugglery," said Thescelus, and raised his
javelin in act to throw, and became stone in the very attitude.
Ampyx was about to plunge his sword into the body of a prostrate
foe, but his arm stiffened and he could neither thrust forward
nor withdraw it.  Another, in the midst of a vociferous
challenge, stopped, his mouth open, but no sound issuing.  One of
Perseus's friends, Aconteus, caught sight of the Gorgon and
stiffened like the rest.  Astyages struck him with his sword, but
instead of wounding, it recoiled with a ringing noise.

Phineus beheld this dreadful result of his unjust aggression, and
felt confounded.  He called aloud to his friends, but got no
answer; he touched them and found them stone.  Falling on his
knees and stretching out his hands to Perseus, but turning his
head away, he begged for mercy.  "Take all," said he, "give me
but my life."  "Base coward," said Perseus, "thus much I will
grant you; no weapon shall touch you; moreover you shall be
preserved in my house as a memorial of these events." So saying,
he held the Gorgon's head to the side where Phineus was looking,
and in the very form in which he knelt, with his hands
outstretched and face averted, he became fixed immovably, a mass
of stone!

The following allusion to Perseus is from Milman's Samor:

"As 'mid the fabled Libyan bridal stood
Perseus in stern tranquillity of wrath,
Half stood, half floated on his ankle-plumes
Out-swelling, while the bright face on his shield
Looked into stone the raging fray; so rose,
But with no magic arms, wearing alone
Th' appalling and control of his firm look,
The Briton Samor; at his rising awe
Went abroad, and the riotous hall was mute."

Then Perseus returned to Seriphus to King Polydectes and to his
mother Danae and the fisherman Dicte.  He marched up the tyrant's
hall, where Polydectes and his guests were feasting.  "Have you
the head of Medusa?" exclaimed Polydectes.  "Here it is,"
answered Perseus, and showed it to the king and to his guests.

The ancient prophecy which Acrisius had so much feared at last
came to pass.  For, as Perseus was passing through the country of
Larissa, he entered into competition with the youths of the
country at the game of hurling the discus.  King Acrisius was
among the spectators.  The youths of Larissa threw first, and
then Perseus.  His discus went far beyond the others, and, seized
by a breeze from the sea, fell upon the foot of Acrisius.  The
old king swooned with pain, and was carried away from the place
only to die.  Perseus, who had heard the story of his birth and
parentage from Danae, when he learned who Acrisius was, filled
with remorse and sorrow, went to the oracle at Delphi, and there
was purified from the guilt of homicide.

Perseus gave the head of Medusa to Minerva, who had aided him so
well to obtain it.  Minerva took the head of her once beautiful
rival and placed it in the middle of her Aegis.

Milton, in his Comus, thus alludes to the Aegis:

"What was that snaky-headed Gorgon-shield
That wise Minerva wore, unconquered virgin,
Wherewith she freezed her foes to congealed stone,
But rigid looks of chaste austerity,
And noble grace that dashed brute violence
With sudden adoration and blank awe!"

Armstrong, the poet of the Art of Preserving Health, thus
describes the effect of frost upon the waters:

"Now blows the surly North and chills throughout
the stiffening regions, while by stronger charms
Than Circe e'er or fell Medea brewed,
Each brook that wont to prattle to its banks
Lies all bestilled and wedged betwixt its banks,
Nor moves the withered reeds. . . .
The surges baited by the fierce Northeast,
Tossing with fretful spleen their angry heads,
E'en in the foam of all their madness struck
To monumental ice.

                                                            *         *         *         *         *

Such execution,
So stern, so sudden, wrought the grisly aspect
Of terrible Medusa,
When wandering through the woods she turned to stone
Their savage tenants; just as the foaming lion
Sprang furious on his prey, her speedier power
Outran his haste,
And fixed in that fierce attitude he stands
Like Rage in marble!"
Imitations of Shakespeare

Of Atlas there is another story, which I like better than the one
told.  He was one of the Titans who warred against Jupiter like
Typhoeus, Briareus, and others.  After their defeat by the king
of gods and men, Atlas was condemned to stand in the far western
part of the earth, by the Pillars of Hercules, and to hold on his
shoulders the weight of heaven and the stars.

The story runs that Perseus, flying by, asked and obtained rest
and food.  The next morning he asked what he could do to reward
Atlas for his kindness.  The best that giant could think of was
that Perseus should show him the snaky head of Medusa, that he
might be turned to stone and be at rest from his heavy load.

Chapter X
Monsters.   Giants.   Sphinx.   Pegasus and the Chimaera.
Centaurs.   Griffin.   Pygmies

Monsters, in the language of mythology, were beings of unnatural
proportions or parts, usually regarded with terror, as possessing
immense strength and ferocity, which they employed for the injury
and annoyance of men.  Some of them were supposed to combine the
members of different animals; such were the Sphinx and the
Chimaera; and to these all the terrible qualities of wild beasts
were attributed, together with human sagacity and faculties.
Others, as the giants, differed from men chiefly in their size;
and in this particular we must recognize a wide distinction among
them.  The human giants, if so they may be called, such as the
Cyclopes, Antaeus, Orion, and others, must be supposed not to be
altogether disproportioned to human beings, for they mingled in
love and strife with them.  But the superhuman giants, who warred
with the gods, were of vastly larger dimensions.  Tityus, we are
told, when stretched on the plain, covered nine acres, and
Enceladus required the whole of Mount AEtna to be laid upon him
to keep him down.

We have already spoken of the war which the giants waged against
the gods, and of its result.  While this war lasted the giants
proved a formidable enemy.  Some of them, like Briareus, had a
hundred arms; others, like Typhon, breathed out fire.  At one
time they put the gods to such fear that they fled into Egypt,
and hid themselves under various forms.  Jupiter took the form of
a ram, whence he was afterwards worshipped in Egypt as the god
Ammon, with curved horns.  Apollo became a crow, Bacchus a goat,
Diana a cat, Juno a cow, Venus a fish, Mercury a bird.  At
another time the giants attempted to climb up into heaven, and
for that purpose took up the mountain Ossa and piled it on
Pelion.  They were at last subdued by thunderbolts, which Minerva
invented, and taught Vulcan and his Cyclopes to make for Jupiter.


Laius, king of Thebes, was warned by an oracle that there was
danger to his throne and life if his new-born son should be
suffered to grow up.  He therefore committed the child to the
care of a herdsman, with orders to destroy him; but the herdsman,
moved to pity, yet not daring entirely to disobey, tied up the
child by the feet, and left him hanging to the branch of a tree.
Here the infant was found by a herdsman of Polybus, king of
Corinth, who was pasturing his flock upon Mount Cithaeron.
Polybus and Merope, his wife, adopted the child, whom they called
OEdipus, or Swollen-foot, for they had no children themselves,
and in Corinth OEdipus grew up.  But as OEdipus was at Delphi,
the oracle prophesied to him that he should kill his father and
marry his own mother.  Fighting against Fate, OEdipus resolved to
leave Corinth and his parents, for he thought that Polybus and
Merope were meant by the oracle.

Soon afterwards, Laius being on his way to Delphi, accompanied
only by one attendant, met in a narrow road a young man also
driving in a chariot.  On his refusal to leave the way at their
command, the attendant killed one of his horses, and the
stranger, filled with rage, slew both Laius and his attendant.
The young man was OEdipus, who thus unknowingly became the slayer
of his own father.

Shortly after this event the city of Thebes was afflicted with a
monster which infested the high-road.  It was called the Sphinx.
It had the body of a lion, and the upper part of a woman.  It lay
crouched on the top of a rock, and stopped all travellers who
came that way, proposing to them a riddle, with the condition
that those who could solve it should pass safe, but those who
failed should be killed.  Not one had yet succeeded in solving
it, and all had been slain.  OEdipus was not daunted by these
alarming accounts, but boldly advanced to the trial.  The Sphinx
asked him, "What animal is that which in the morning goes on four
feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?"  OEdipus
replied, "Man, who in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in
manhood walks erect, and in old age with the aid of a staff."
The Sphinx was so mortified at the solving of her riddle that she
cast herself down from the rock and perished.

The gratitude of the people for their deliverance was so great
that they made OEdipus their king, giving him in marriage their
queen Jocasta.  OEdipus, ignorant of his parentage, had already
become the slayer of his father; in marrying the queen he became
the husband of his mother.  These horrors remained undiscovered,
till at length Thebes was afflicted with famine and pestilence,
and the oracle being consulted, the double crime of OEdipus came
to light.  Jocasta put an end to her own life, and OEdipus,
seized with madness, tore out his eyes, and wandered away from
Thebes, dreaded and abandoned hy all except his daughters, who
faithfully adhered to him; till after a tedious period of
miserable wandering, he found the termination of his wretched


When Perseus cut off Medusa's head, the blood sinking into the
earth produced the winged horse Pegasus.  Minerva caught and
tamed him, and presented him to the Muses.  The fountain
Hippocrene, on the Muses' mountain Helicon, was opened by a kick
from his hoof.

The Chimaera was a fearful monster, breathing fire.  The fore
part of its body was a compound of the lion and the goat, and the
hind part a dragon's.  It made great havoc in Lycia, so that the
king Iobates sought for some hero to destroy it.  At that time
there arrived at his court a gallant young warrior, whose name
was Bellerophon.  He brought letters from Proetus, the son-in-law
of Iobates, recommending Bellerophon in the warmest terms as an
unconquerable hero, but added at the close a request to his
father-in-law to put him to death.  The reason was that Proetus
was jealous of him, suspecting that his wife Antea looked with
too much admiration on the young warrior.  From this instance of
Bellerophon being unconsciously the bearer of his own death-
warrant, the expression "Bellerophontic letters" arose, to
describe any species of communication which a person is made the
bearer of, containing matter prejudicial to himself.

Iobates, on perusing the letters, was puzzled what to do, not
willing to violate the claims of hospitality, yet wishing to
oblige his son-in-law.  A lucky thought occurred to him, to send
Bellerophon to combat with the Chimaera.  Bellerophon accepted
the proposal, but before proceeding to the combat consulted the
soothsayer Polyidus, who advised him to procure if possible the
horse Pegasus for the conflict.  For this purpose he directed him
to pass the night in the temple of Minerva.  He did so, and as he
slept Minerva came to him and gave him a golden bridle.  When he
awoke the bridle remained in his hand.  Minerva also showed him
Pegasus drinking at the well of Pirene, and at sight of the
bridle, the winged steed came willingly and suffered himself to
be taken.  Bellerophon mounting, rose with him into the air, and
soon found the Chimaera, and gained an easy victory over the

After the conquest of the Chimaera, Bellerophon was exposed to
further trials and labors by his unfriendly host, but by the aid
of Pegasus he triumphed in them all; till at length Iobates,
seeing that the hero was a special favorite of the gods, gave him
his daughter in marriage and made him his successor on the
throne.  At last Bellerophon by his pride and presumption drew
upon himself the anger of the gods; it is said he even attempted
to fly up into heaven on his winged steed; but Jupiter sent a
gadfly which stung Pegasus and made him throw his rider, who
became lame and blind in consequence.  After this Bellerophon
wandered lonely through the Aleian field, avoiding the paths of
men, and died miserably.

Milton alludes to Bellerophon in the beginning o the seventh book
of Paradise Lost:

"Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name
If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine
Following above the Olympian hill I soar,
Above the flight of Pegasean wing,
Up-led by thee,
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
(Thy tempering;) with like safety guided down
Return me to my native element;
Lest from this flying steed unreined, (as once
Bellerophon, though from a lower sphere,)
Dismounted on the Aleian field I fall,
Erroneous there to wander, and forlorn."

Young in his Night Thoughts, speaking of the skeptic, says,

"He whose blind thought futurity denies,
Unconscious bears, Bellerophon, like thee
His own indictment; he condemns himself,
Who reads his bosom reads immortal life,
Or nature there, imposing on her sons,
Has written fables; man was made a lie."
Vol. II.1,12.

Pegasus, being the horse of the Muses, has always been at the
service of the poets.  Schiller tells a pretty story of his
having been sold by a needy poet, and put to the cart and the
plough.  He was not fit for such service, and his clownish master
could make nothing of him.  But a youth stepped forth and asked
leave to try him.  As soon as he was seated on his back, the
horse, which had appeared at first vicious, and afterwards
spirit-broken, rose kingly, a spirit, a god; unfolded the
splendor of his wings and soared towards heaven.  Our own poet
Longfellow also records an adventure of this famous steed in his
Pegasus in Pound.

Shakespeare alludes to Pegasus in Henry IV, where Vernon
describes Prince Henry:

"I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,
His cuishes on his thighs, gallantly armed,
Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropped down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship."


The Greeks loved to people their woods and hills with strange
wild people,   half man, half beast.  Such were the Satyrs   men
with goats' legs.  But nobler and better were the Centaurs,   men
to the waist, while the rest was the form of a horse.  The
ancients were too fond of a horse to consider the union of his
nature with man's as forming any very degraded compound, and
accordingly the Centaur is the only one of the fancied monsters
of antiquity to which any good traits are assigned.  The Centaurs
were admitted to the companionship of man, and at the marriage of
Pirithous with Hippodamia, they were among the guests.  At the
feast, Eurytion, one of the Centaurs, becoming intoxicated with
the wine, attempted to offer violence to the bride; the other
Centaurs followed his example, and a dreadful conflict arose in
which several of them were slain.  This is the celebrated battle
of the Lapithae and Centaurs, a favorite subject with the
sculptors and poets of antiquity.

But all the Centaurs were not like the rude guests of Pirithous.
Chiron was instructed by Apollo and Diana, and was renowned for
his skill in hunting, medicine, music, and the art of prophecy.
The most distinguished heroes of Grecian story were his pupils.
Among the rest the infant Aesculapius was intrusted to his
charge, by Apollo, his father.  When the sage returned to his
home bearing the infant, his daughter Ocyroe came forth to meet
him, and at sight of the child burst forth into a prophetic
strain (for she was a prophetess), foretelling the glory that he
was to achieve.  Aesculapius, when grown up, became a renowned
physician, and even in one instance succeeded in restoring the
dead to life.  Pluto resented this, and Jupiter, at his request,
struck the bold physician with lightning and killed him, but
after his death received him into the number of the gods.

Chiron was the wisest and justest of all the Centaurs, and at his
death Jupiter placed him among the stars as the constellation


The Pygmies were a nation of dwarfs, so called from a Greek word
which means the cubit (a cubit was a measure of about thirteen
inches), which was said to be the height of these people.  They
lived near the sources of the Nile, or according to others, in
India.   Homer tells us that the cranes used to migrate every
winter to the Pygmies' country, and their appearance was the
signal of bloody warfare to the puny inhabitants, who had to take
up arms to defend their cornfields against the rapacious
strangers.  The Pygmies and their enemies the cranes form the
subject of several works of art.

Later writers tell of an army of Pygmies which finding Hercules
asleep made preparations to attack him, as if they were about to
attack a city.  But the hero awaking laughed at the little
warriors, wrapped some of them up in his lion's-skin, and carried
them to Eurystheus.

Milton used the Pygmies for a simile, Paradise Lost, Book I:

"----------like that Pygmaean race
Beyond the Indian mount, or fairy elves
Whose midnight revels by a forest side,
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
(Or dreams he sees), while overhead the moon
Sits artibress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course; they on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear.
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds."


THE Griffin is a monster with the body of a lion, the head and
wings of an eagle, and back covered with feathers.  Like birds it
builds its nest, and instead of an egg lays an agate therein.  It
has long claws and talons of such a size that the people of that
country make them into drinking-cups.  India was assigned as the
native country of the Griffins.  They found gold in the mountains
and built their nests of it, for which reason their nests were
very tempting to the hunters, and they were forced to keep
vigilant guard over them.  Their instinct led them to know where
buried treasures lay, and they did their best to keep plunderers
at a distance.  The Arimaspians, among whom the Griffins
flourished, were a one-eyed people of Scythia.

Milton borrows a simile from the Griffins, Paradise Lost, Book

"As when a Gryphon through the wilderness,
With winged course, o'er hill and moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian who by stealth
Hath from his wakeful custody purloined
His guarded gold."

Chapter XI
The Golden Fleece.   Medea.   The Calydonian Hunt

In very ancient times there lived in Thessaly a king and queen
named Athamas and Nephele.  They had two children, a boy and a
girl.  After a time Athamas grew indifferent to his wife, put her
away, and took another.  Nephele suspected danger to her children
from the influence of the step-mother, and took measures to send
them out of her reach.  Mercury assisted her, and gave her a ram,
with a GOLDEN FLEECE, on which she set the two children, trusting
that the ram would convey them to a place of safety.  The ram
sprung into the air with the children on his back, taking his
course to the east, till when crossing the strait that divides
Europe and Asia, the girl, whose name was Helle, fell from his
back into the sea, which from her was called the Hellespont,
now the Dardanelles.  The ram continued his career till he
reached the kingdom of Colchis, on the eastern shore of the Black
Sea, where he safely landed the boy Phyrxus, who was hospitably
received by AEetes, the king of the country.  Phryxus sacrificed
the ram to Jupiter, and gave the golden fleece to AEetes, who
placed it in a consecrated grove, under the care of a sleepless

There was another kingdom in Thessaly near to that of Athamas,
and ruled over by a relative of his.  The king AEson, being tired
of the cares of government, surrendered his crown to his brother
Pelias, on condition that he should hold it only during the
minority of Jason, the son of AEson.  When Jason was grown up and
came to demand the crown from his uncle, Pelias pretended to be
willing to yield it, but at the same time suggested to the young
man the glorious adventure of going in quest of the golden
fleece, which it was well known was in the kingdom of Colchis,
and was, as Pelias pretended, the rightful property of their
family.  Jason was pleased with the thought, and forthwith made
preparations for the expedition.  At that time the only species
of navigation known to the Greeks consisted of small boats or
canoes hollowed out from trunks of trees, so that when Jason
employed Argus to build him a vessel capable of containing fifty
men, it was considered a gigantic undertaking.  It was
accomplished, however, and the vessel was named the Argo, from
the name of the builder.  Jason sent his invitation to all the
adventurous young men of Greece, and soon found himself at the
head of a band of bold youths, many of whom afterwards were
renowned among the heroes and demigods of Greece.  Hercules,
Theseus, Orpheus, and Nestor were among them.  They are called
the Argonauts, from the name of their vessel.

The Argo with her crew of heroes left the shores of Thessaly and
having touched at the Island of Lemnos, thence crossed to Mysia
and thence to Thrace.  Here they found the sage Phineus, and from
him received instruction as to their future course.  It seems the
entrance of the Euxine Sea was impeded by two small rocky
islands, which floated on the surface, and in their tossings and
heavings occasionally came together, crushing and grinding to
atoms any object that might be caught between them.  They were
called the Symplegades, or Clashing Islands.  Phineus instructed
the Argonauts how to pass this dangerous strait.  When they
reached the islands they let go a dove, which took her way
between the rocks, and passed in safety, only losing some
feathers of her tail.  Jason and his men seized the favorable
moment of the rebound, plied their oars with vigor, and passed
safe through, though the islands closed behind them, and actually
grazed their stern.  They now rowed along the shore till they
arrived at the eastern end of the sea, and landed at the kingdom
of Colchis.

Jason made known his message to the Colchian king, AEetes, who
consented to give up the golden fleece if Jason would yoke to the
plough two fire-breathing bulls with brazen feet, and sow the
teeth of the dragon, which Cadmus had slain, and from which it
was well known that a crop of armed men would spring up, who
would turn their weapons against their producer.  Jason accepted
the conditions, and a time was set for making the experiment.
Previously, however, he found means to plead his cause to Medea,
daughter of the king.  He promised her marriage, and as they
stood before the altar of Hecate, called the goddess to witness
his oath.  Medea yielded   and by her aid, for she was a potent
sorceress, he was furnished with a charm, by which he could
encounter safely the breath of the fire-breathing bulls and the
weapons of the armed men.

At the time appointed, the people assembled at the grove of Mars,
and the king assumed his royal seat, while the multitude covered
the hill-sides.  The brazen-footed bulls rushed in, breathing
fire from their nostrils, that burned up the herbage as they
passed.  The sound was like the roar of a furnace, and the smoke
like that of water upon quick-lime.  Jason advanced boldly to
meet them.  His friends, the chosen heroes of Greece, trembled to
behold him.  Regardless of the burning breath, he soothed their
rage with his voice, patted their necks with fearless hands, and
adroitly slipped over them the yoke, and compelled them to drag
the plough.  The Colchians were amazed; the Greeks shouted for
joy.  Jason next proceeded to sow the dragon's teeth and plough
them in.  And soon the crop of armed men sprang up, and wonderful
to relate! no sooner had they reached the surface than they began
to brandish their weapons and rush upon Jason.  The Greeks
trembled for their hero, and even she who had provided him a way
of safety and taught him how to use it, Medea herself, grew pale
with fear.  Jason for a time kept his assailants at bay with his
sword and shield, till finding their numbers overwhelming, he
resorted to the charm which Medea had taught him, seized a stone
and threw it in the midst of his foes.  They immediately turned
their arms against one another, and soon there was not one of the
dragon's brood left alive.  The Greeks embraced their hero, and
Medea, if she dared, would have embraced him too.

Then AEetes promised the next day to give them the fleece, and
the Greeks went joyfully down to the Argo with the hero Jason in
their midst.  But that night Medea came down to Jason, and bade
him make haste and follow her, for that her father proposed the
next morning to attack the Argonauts and to destroy their ship.
They went together to the grove of Mars, where the golden fleece
hung guarded by the dreadful dragon, who glared at the hero and
his conductor with his great round eyes that never slept.  But
Medea was prepared, and began her magic songs and spells, and
sprinkled over him a sleeping potion which she had prepared by
her art.  At the smell he relaxed his rage, stood for a moment
motionless, then shut those great round eyes, that had never been
known to shut before, and turned over on his side, fast asleep.
Jason seized the fleece, and with his friends and Medea
accompanying, hastened to their vessel, before AEETES, the king,
could arrest their departure, and made the best of their way back
to Thessaly, where they arrived safe, and Jason delivered the
fleece to Pelias, and dedicated the Argo to Neptune.  What became
of the fleece afterwards we do not know, but perhaps it was
found, after all, like many other golden prizes, not worth the
trouble it had cost to procure it.

This is one of those mythological tales, says a modern writer, in
which there is reason to believe that a substratum of truth
exists, though overlaid by a mass of fiction.  It probably was
the first important maritime expedition, and like the first
attempts of the kind of all nations, as we know from history, was
probably of a half-piratical character.  If rich spoils were the
result, it was enough to give rise to the idea of the golden

Another suggestion of a learned mythologist, Bryant, is that it
is a corrupt tradition of the story of Noah and the ark.  The
name Argo seems to countenance this, and the incident of the dove
is another confirmation.

Pope, in his Ode on St. Cecelia's Day, thus celebrates the
launching of the ship Argo, and the power of the music of
Orpheus, whom he calls the Thracian:

"So when the first bold vessel dared the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian raised his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main.
Transported demigods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound."

In Dyer's poem of The Fleece there is an account of the ship Argo
and her crew, which gives a good picture of this primitive
maritime adventure:

"From every region of Aegea's shore
The brave assembled; those illustrious twins,
Castor and Pollux; Orpheus, tuneful bard;
Zetes and Calais, as the wind in speed;
Strong Hercules and many a chief renowned.
On deep Iolcos' sandy shore they thronged,
Gleaming in armor, ardent of exploits;
And soon, the laurel cord and the huge stone
Uplifting to the deck, unmoored the bark;
Whose keel of wondrous length the skilful hand
Of Argus fashioned for the proud attempt;
And in the extended keel a lofty mast
Upraised, and sails full swelling; to the chiefs
Unwonted objects.  Now first, now they learned
Their bolder steerage over ocean wave,
Led by the golden stars, as Chiron's art
Had marked the sphere celestial."

Hercules left the expedition at Mysia, for Hylas, a youth beloved
by him, having gone for water, was laid hold of and kept by the
nymphs of the spring, who were fascinated by his beauty.
Hercules went in quest of the lad, and while he was absent the
Argo put to sea and left him.  Moore, in one of his songs, makes
a beautiful allusion to this incident:

"When Hylas was sent with his urn to the fount,
Through fields full of light and with heart full of play,
Light rambled the boy over meadow and mount,
And neglected his task for the flowers in the way.

"Thus many like me, who in youth should have tasted
The fountain that runs by Philosophy's shrine,
Their time with the flowers on the margin have wasted,
And left their light urns all as empty as mine."

But Hercules, as some say, went onward to Colchis by land, and
there performed many mighty deeds, and wiped away the stain of
cowardice which might have clung to him.


Amid the rejoicings for the recovery of the golden Fleece, Jason
felt that one thing was wanting, the presence of AESON, his
father, who was prevented by his age and infirmities from taking
part in them.  Jason said to Medea, "My wife, I would that your
arts, whose power I have seen so mighty for my aid, could do me
one further service, and take some years from my life to add them
to my father's."  Medea replied, "Not at such a cost shall it be
done, but if my art avails me, his life shall be lengthened
without abridging yours."  The next full moon she issued forth
alone, while all creatures slept; not a breath stirred the
foliage, and all was still.  To the stars she addressed her
incantations, and to the moon; to Hecate (Hecate was a mysterious
divinity sometimes identified with Diana and sometimes with
Proserpine.  As Diana represents the moonlight splendor of night,
so Hecate represents its darkness and terrors.  She was the
goddess of sorcery and witchcraft, and was believed to wander by
night along the earth, seen only by the dogs whose barking told
her approach.), the goddess of the underworld, and to Tellus, the
goddess of the earth, by whose power plants potent for
enchantments are produced.  She invoked the gods of the woods and
caverns, of mountains and valleys, of lakes and rivers, of winds
and vapors.  While she spoke the stars shone brighter, and
presently a chariot descended through the air, drawn by flying
serpents.  She ascended it, and, borne aloft, made her way to
distant regions, where potent plants grew which she knew how to
select for her purpose.  Nine nights she employed in her search,
and during that time came not within the doors of her palace nor
under any roof, and shunned all intercourse with mortals.

She next erected two altars, the one to Hecate, the other to
Hebe, the goddess of youth, and sacrificed a black sheep, pouring
libations of milk and wine.  She implored Pluto and his stolen
bride that they would not hasten to take the old man's life.
Then she directed that AESON should be led forth, and having
thrown him into a deep sleep by a charm, had him laid on a bed of
herbs, like one dead.  Jason and all others were kept away from
the place, that no profane eyes might look upon her mysteries.
Then, with streaming hair, she thrice moved round the altars,
dipped flaming twigs in the blood, and laid them thereon to burn.
Meanwhile the caldron with its contents was got ready.  In it she
put magic herbs, with seeds and flowers of acrid juice, stones
from the distant East, and sand from the shore of all-surrounding
ocean; hoar frost, gathered by moonlight, a screech-owl's head
and wings, and the entrails of a wolf.  She added fragments of
the shells of tortoises, and the liver of stags,   animals
tenacious of life,   and the head and beak of a crow, that
outlives nine generations of men.  These, with many other things
without a name, she boiled together for her purposed work,
stirring them up with a dry olive branch; and behold, the branch
when taken out instantly became green, and before long was
covered with leaves and a plentiful growth of young olives; and
as the liquor boiled and bubbled, and sometimes ran over, the
grass, wherever the sprinklings fell, shot forth with a verdure
like that of spring.

Seeing that all was ready, Medea cut the throat of the old man
and let out all his blood, and poured into his mouth and into his
wound the juices of her caldron.  As soon as he had completely
imbibed them, his hair and beard laid by their whiteness and
assumed the blackness of youth; his paleness and emaciation were
gone; his veins were full of blood, his limbs of vigor and
robustness.  AESON is amazed at himself, and remembers that such
as he now is he was in his youthful days, forty years before.

Medea used her arts here for a good purpose, but not so in
another instance, where she made them the instruments of revenge.
Pelias, our readers will recollect, was the usurping uncle of
Jason, and had kept him out of his kingdom.  Yet he must have had
some good qualities, for his daughters loved him, and when they
saw what Medea had done for AESON, they wished her to do the same
for their father.  Medea pretended to consent, and prepared her
caldron as before.  At her request an old sheep was brought and
plunged into the caldron.  Very soon a bleating was heard in the
kettle, and, when the cover was removed, a lamb jumped forth and
ran frisking away into the meadow.  The daughters of Pelias saw
the experiment with delight, and appointed a time for their
father to undergo the same operation.  But Medea prepared her
caldron for him in a very different way.  She put in only water
and a few simple herbs.  In the night she with the sisters
entered the bed-chamber of the old king, while he and his guards
slept soundly under the influence of a spell cast upon them by
Medea.  The daughters stood by the bedside with their weapons
drawn, but hesitated to strike, till Medea chid their
irresolution.  Then, turning away their faces and giving random
blows, they smote him with their weapons.  He, starting from his
sleep, cried out, "My daughters, what are you doing?  Will you
kill your father?:" Their hearts failed them, and the weapons
fell from their hands, but Medea struck him a fatal blow, and
prevented his saying more.

Then they placed him in the caldron, and Medea hastened to depart
in her serpent-drawn chariot before they discovered her
treachery, for their vengeance would have been terrible.  She
escaped, however, but had little enjoyment of the fruits of her
crime.  Jason, for whom she had done so much, wishing to marry
Creusa, princess of Corinth, put away Medea.  She, enraged at his
ingratitude, called on the gods for vengeance, sent a poisoned
robe as a gift to the bride, and then killing her own children,
and setting fire to the palace, mounted her serpent-drawn chariot
and fled to Athens, where she married King AEgeus, the father of
Theseus; and we shall meet her again when we come to the
adventures of that hero.

The incantations of Medea will remind the reader of those of the
witches in Macbeth.  The following lines are those which seem
most strikingly to recall the ancient model:

"Round about the caldron go;
In the poisoned entrails throw.
                         *    *    *    *    *    *
Fillet of a fenny snake
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog.
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing:
                              *    *    *    *    *
Maw of ravening salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digged in the dark."
Macbeth, Act IV., Scene 1

And again:

Macbeth.   What is't you do?
Witches.   A deed without a name.

There is another story of Medea almost too revolting for record
even of a sorceress, a class of persons to whom both ancient and
modern poets have been accustomed to attribute every degree of
atrocity.  In her flight from Colchis she had taken her young
brother Absyrtus with her.  Finding the pursuing vessels of
AEETES gaining upon the Argonauts, she caused the lad to be
killed and his limbs to be strewn over the sea.  AEETES on
reaching the place found these sorrowful traces of his murdered
son; but while he tarried to collect the scattered fragments and
bestow upon them an honorable interment, the Argonauts escaped.

In the poems of Campbell will be found a translation of one of
the choruses of the tragedy of Medea, where the poet Euripides
has taken advantage of the occasion to pay a glowing tribute to
Athens, his native city.  It begins thus:

"Oh, haggard queen!  To Athens dost thou guide
Thy glowing chariot, steeped in kindred gore;
Or seek to hide thy damned parricide
Where Peace and Justice dwell for evermore?"


The search for the Golden Fleece was undertaken by Jason, aided
by heroes from all Greece, or Hellas as it was then called.  It
was the first of their common undertakings which made the Greeks
feel that they were in truth one nation, though split up into
many small kingdoms.  Another of their great gatherings was for
the Calydonian Hunt, and another, the greatest and most famous of
all, for the Trojan War.

The hero of the quest for the golden Fleece was Jason.  With the
other heroes of the Greeks, he was present at the Calydonian
Hunt.  But the chief hero was Meleager, the son of OEneus, king
of Calydon, and Althea, his queen.

Althea, when her son was born, beheld the three Destinies, who,
as they spun their fatal thread, foretold that the life of the
child should last no longer than a brand then burning upon the
hearth.  Althea seized and quenched the brand, and carefully
preserved it for years, while Meleager grew to boyhood, youth,
and manhood.  It chanced, then, that OEneus, as he offered
sacrifices to the gods, omitted to pay due honors to Diana, and
she, indignant at the neglect, sent a wild boar of enormous size
to lay waste the files of Calydon.  Its eyes shone with blood and
fire, its bristles stood like threatening spears, its tusks were
like those of Indian elephants.  The growing corn was trampled,
the vines and olive trees laid waste, the flocks and herds were
driven in wild confusion by the slaughtering foe.  All common aid
seemed vain; but Meleager called on the heroes of Greece to join
in a bold hunt for the ravenous monster.  Theseus and his friend
Pirithous, Jason, Peleus afterwards the father of Achilles,
Telamon the father of Ajax, Nestor, then a youth, but who in his
age bore arms with Achilles and Ajax in the Trojan war,   these
and many more joined in the enterprise.  With them came Atalanta,
the daughter of Iasius, king of Arcadia.  A buckle of polished
gold confined her vest, an ivory quiver hung on her left
shoulder, and her left hand bore the bow.  Her face blent
feminine beauty with the best graces of martial youth.  Meleager
saw and loved.

But now already they were near the monster's lair.  They
stretched strong nets from tree to tree; they uncoupled their
dogs, they tried to find the footprints of their quarry in the
grass.  From the wood was a descent to marshy ground.  Here the
boar, as he lay among the reeds, heard the shouts of his
pursuers, and rushed forth against them.  One and another is
thrown down and slain.  Jason throws his spear with a prayer to
Diana for success; and the favoring goddess allows the weapon to
touch, but not to wound, removing the steel point of the spear
even in its flight.  Nestor, assailed, seeks and finds safety in
the branches of a tree.  Telamon rushes on, but stumbling at a
projecting root, falls prone.  But an arrow from Atalanta at
length for the first time tastes the monster's blood.  It is a
slight wound, but Meleager sees and joyfully proclaims it.
Anceus, excited to envy by the praise given to a female, loudly
proclaims his own valor, and defies alike the boar and the
goddess who had sent it; but as he rushes on, the infuriated
beast lays him low with a mortal wound.  Theseus throws his
lance, but it is turned aside by a projecting bough.  The dart of
Jason misses its object, and kills instead one of their own dogs.
But Meleager, after one unsuccessful stroke, drives his spear
into the monsters side, then rushes on and despatches him with
repeated blows.

Then rose a shout from those around; they congratulated the
conqueror, crowding to touch his hand.  He, placing his foot upon
the slain boar, turned to Atalanta and bestowed on her the head
and the rough hide which were the trophies of his success.  But
at this, envy excited the rest to strife.  Phlexippus and Toxeus,
the uncles of Meleager and Althea's brothers, beyond the rest
opposed the gift, and snatched from the maiden the trophy she had
received.  Meleager, kindling with rage at the wrong done to
himself, and still more at the insult offered to her whom he
loved, forgot the claims of kindred, and plunged his sword into
the offenders' hearts.

As Althea bore gifts of thankfulness to the temples for the
victory of her son, the bodies of her murdered brothers met her
sight.  She shrieks, and beats her breast, and hastens to change
the garments of rejoicing for those of mourning.  But when the
author of the deed is known, grief gives way to the stern desire
of vengeance on her son.  The fatal brand, which once she rescued
from the flames, the brand which the Destinies had linked with
Meleager's life, she brings forth, and commands a fire to be
prepared.  Then four times she essays to place the brand upon the
pile; four times draws back, shuddering at the thought of
bringing destruction on her son.  The feelings of the mother and
the sister contend within her.  Now she is pale at the thought of
the purposed deed, now flushed again with anger at the act of her
son.  As a vessel, driven in one direction by the wind, and in
the opposite by the tide, the mind of Althea hangs suspended in
uncertainty.  But now the sister prevails above the mother, and
she begins as she holds the fatal wood: "Turn, ye Furies,
goddesses of punishment!  Turn to behold the sacrifice I bring!
Crime must atone for crime.  Shall OEneus rejoice in his victor
son, while the house of Thestius (Thestius was father of Toxeus,
Phlexippus and Althea) is desolate?  But, alas! To what deed am I
borne along?  Brothers, forgive a mother's weakness!  My hand
fails me.  He deserves death, but not that I should destroy him.
But shall he then live, and triumph, and reign over Calydon,
while you, my brothers, wander unavenged among the shades?  No!
Thou has lived by my gift; die, now, for thine own crime.  Return
the life which twice I gave thee, first at thy birth, again when
I snatched this brand from the flames.  O that thou hadst then
died!  Alas!  Evil is the conquest; but, brothers, ye have
conquered."  And, turning away her face, she threw the fatal wood
upon the burning pile.

It gave, or seemed to give, a deadly groan.  Meleager, absent and
unknowing of the cause, felt a sudden pang.  He burns and only by
courageous pride conquers the pain which destroys him.  He mourns
only that he perishes by a bloodless and unhonored death.  With
his last breath he calls upon his aged father, his brother, and
his fond sisters, upon his beloved Atalanta, and upon his mother,
the unknown cause of his fate.  The flames increase, and with
them the pain of the hero.  Now both subside; now both are
quenched.  The brand is ashes and the life of Meleager is
breathed forth to the wandering winds.

Althea, when the deed was done, laid violent hands upon herself.
The sisters of Meleager mourned their brother with uncontrollable
grief; till Diana, pitying the sorrows of the house that once had
aroused her anger, turned them into birds.


The innocent cause of so much sorrow was a maiden whose face you
might truly say was boyish for a girl, yet too girlish for a boy.
Her fortune had been told, and it was to this effect: "Atalanta,
do not marry; marriage will be your ruin."  Terrified by this
oracle, she fled the society of men, and devoted herself to the
sports of the chase.  To all suitors (for she had many) she
imposed a condition which was generally effectual in relieving
her of their persecutions:   "I will be the prize of him who
shall conquer me in the race; but death must be the penalty of
all who try and fail."  In spite of this hard condition some
would try.  Hippomenes was to be judge of the race.  "Can it be
possible that any will be so rash as to risk so much for a wife?"
said he.  But when he saw her lay aside her robe for the race, he
changed his mind, and said, "Pardon me, youths, I knew not the
prize you were competing for." As he surveyed them he wished them
all to be beaten, and swelled with envy of any one that seemed at
all likely to win.  While such were his thoughts, the virgin
darted forward.  As she ran, she looked more beautiful than ever.
The breezes seemed to give wings to her feet; her hair flew over
her shoulders, and the gay fringe of her garment fluttered behind
her.  A ruddy hue tinged the whiteness of her skin, such as a
crimson curtain casts on a marble wall.  All her competitors were
distanced, and were put to death without mercy.  Hippomenes, not
daunted by this result, fixing his eyes on the virgin, said, "Why
boast of beating those laggards?  I offer myself for the
contest."  Atalanta looked at him with a pitying countenance, and
hardly knew whether she would rather conquer him or not.  "What
god can tempt one so young and handsome to throw himself away?  I
pity him, not for his beauty (yet he is beautiful), but for his
youth.  I wish he would give up the race, or if he will be so
mad, I hope he may outrun me."  While she hesitates, revolving
these thoughts, the spectators grow impatient for the race, and
her father prompts her to prepare.  Then Hippomenes addressed a
prayer to Venus; "Help me, Venus, for you have led me on" Venus
heard, and was propitious.

In the garden of her temple, in her own island of Cyprus, is a
tree with yellow leaves and yellow branches, and golden fruit.
Hence Venus gathered three golden apples, and, unseen by all
else, gave them to Hippomenes, and told him how to use them.  The
signal is given; each starts from the goal, and skims over the
sand.  So light their tread, you would almost have thought they
might run over the river surface or over the waving grain without
sinking.  The cries of the spectators cheered on Hippomenes:
"Now, now do your best!  Haste, haste!  You gain on her!  Relax
not!  One more effort!"  It was doubtful whether the youth or the
maiden heard these cries with the greater pleasure.  But his
breath began to fail him, his throat was dry, the goal yet far
off.  At that moment he threw down one of the golden apples.  The
virgin was all amazement.  She stopped to pick it up.  Hippomenes
shot ahead.  Shouts burst forth from all sides.  She redoubled
her efforts, and soon overtook him.  Again he threw an apple.
She stopped again, but again came up with him.  The goal was
near; one chance only remained.  "Now, goddess," said he,
"prosper your gift!" and threw the last apple off at one side.
She looked at it, and hesitated; Venus impelled her to turn aside
for it.  She did so, and was vanquished.  The youth carried off
his prize.

But the lovers were so full of their own happiness that they
forgot to pay due honor to Venus; and the goddess was provoked at
their ingratitude.  She caused them to give offence to Cybele.
That powerful goddess was not to be insulted with impunity.  She
took from them their human form and turned them into animals of
characters resembling their own: of the huntress-heroine,
triumphing in the blood of her lovers, she made a lioness, and of
her lord and master a lion, and yoked them to her ear, there they
are still to be seen in all representations, in statuary or
painting, of the goddess Cybele.

Cybele is the Latin name of the goddess called by the Greeks Rhea
and Ops.  She was the wife of Cronos and mother of Zeus.  In
works of art, she exhibits the matronly air which distinguishes
Juno and Ceres.  Sometimes she is veiled, and seated on a throne
with lions at her side, at other times riding in a chariot drawn
by lions.  She sometimes wears a mural crown, that is, a crown
whose rim is carved in the form of towers and battlements.  Her
priests were called Corybantes.

Byron in describing the city of Venice, which is built on a low
island in the Adriatic Sea, borrows an illustration from Cybele:

"She looks a sea-Cybele fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers."
Childe Harold, IV

In Moore's Rhymes on the Road, the poet, speaking of Alpine
scenery, alludes to the story of Atalanta and Hippomenes, thus:

"Even here, in this region of wonders, I find
That light-footed Fancy leaves Truth far behind,
Or at least, like Hippomenes, turns her astray
By the golden illusions he flings in her way."

Chapter XII
Hercules.   Hebe and Ganymede

Hercules (in Greek, Heracles) was the son of Jupiter and Alemena.
As Juno was always hostile to the offspring of her husband by
mortal mothers, she declared war against Hercules from his birth.
She sent two serpents to destroy him as he lay in his cradle, but
the precocious infant strangled them with his own hands.  (On
this account the infant Hercules was made the type of infant
America, by Dr. Franklin, and the French artists whom he employed
in the American Revolution.  Horatio Greenough has placed a bas-
relief of the Infant Hercules on the pedestal of his statue of
Washington, which stands in front of the Capitol.)  He was
however by the arts of Juno rendered subject to his cousin
Eurystheus and compelled to perform all his commands.  Eurystheus
enjoined upon him a succession of desperate adventures, which are
called the twelve "Labors of Hercules."  The first was the fight
with the Nemean lion.  The valley of Nemea was infested by a
terrible lion.  Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the skin
of this monster.  After using in vain his club and arrows against
the lion, Hercules strangled the animal with his hands.  He
returned carrying the dead lion on his shoulders; but Eurystheus
was so frightened at the sight of it and at this proof of the
prodigious strength of the hero, that he ordered him to deliver
the account of his exploits in future outside the town.

His next labor was to slaughter the Hydra.  This monster ravaged
the country of Argos, and dwelt in a swamp near the well of
Amymone, of which the story is that when the country was
suffering from drought, Neptune, who loved her, had permitted her
to touch the rock with his trident, and a spring of three outlets
burst forth.  Here the Hydra took up his position, and Hercules
was sent to destroy him.  The Hydra had nine heads, of which the
middle one was immortal.  Hercules struck off its head with his
club, but in the place of the head knocked off, two new ones grew
forth each time.  At length with the assistance of his faithful
servant Iolaus, he burned away the heads of the Hydra, and buried
the ninth or immortal one under a huge rock.

Another labor was the cleaning of the Augean stables.  Augeas,
king of Elis, had a herd of three thousand oxen, whose stalls had
not been cleansed for thirty years.  Hercules brought the rivers
Alpheus and Peneus through them, and cleansed them thoroughly in
one day.

His next labor was of a more delicate kind.  Admeta, the daughter
of Eurystheus, longed to obtain the girdle of the queen of the
Amazons, and Eurystheus ordered Hercules to go and get it.  The
Amazons were a nation of women.  They were very warlike and held
several flourishing cities.  It was their custom to bring up only
the female children; the boys were either sent away to the
neighboring nations or put to death.  Hercules was accompanied by
a number of volunteers, and after various adventures at last
reached the country of the Amazons.  Hippolyta, the queen,
received him kindly, and consented to yield him her girdle; but
Juno, taking the form of an Amazon, went among the other Amazons
and persuaded them that the strangers were carrying off their
queen.  The Amazons instantly armed and came in great numbers
down to the ship.  Hercules, thinking that Hippolyta had acted
treacherously, slew her, and taking her girdle, made sail

Another task enjoined him was to bring to Eurystheus the oxen of
Geryon, a monster with three bodies who dwelt in the island
Erytheia (the red), so called because it lay at the west, under
the rays of the setting sun.  This description is thought to
apply to Spain, of which Geryon was said to be king.  After
traversing various countries, Hercules reached at length the
frontiers of Libya and Europe, where he raised the two mountains
of Calpe and Abyla, as monuments of his progress, or according to
another account rent one mountain into two and left half on each
side, forming the Straits of Gibraltar, the two mountains being
called the Pillars of Hercules.  The oxen were guarded by the
giant Eurytion and his two-headed dog, but Hercules killed the
giant and his dog and brought away the oxen in safety to

The most difficult labor of all was bringing the golden apples of
the Hesperides, for Hercules did not know where to find them.
These were the apples which Juno had received at her wedding from
the goddess of the Earth, and which she had intrusted to the
keeping of the daughters of Hesperis, assisted by a watchful
dragon.  After various adventures Hercules arrived at Mount Atlas
in Africa.  Atlas was one of the Titans who had warred against
the gods, and after they were subdued, Atlas was condemned to
bear on his shoulders the weight of the heavens.  He was the
father of the Hesperides, and Hercules thought, might, if any one
could, find the apples and bring them to him.  But how to send
Atlas away from his post, or bear up the heavens while he was
gone?  Hercules took the burden on his own shoulders, and sent
Atlas to seek the apples.  He returned with them, and though
somewhat reluctantly, took his burden upon his shoulders again,
and let Hercules return with the apples to Eurystheus.  (Hercules
was a descendant of Perseus.  Perseus changed Atlas to stone.
How could Hercules take his place?  This is only one of the many
anachronisms found in ancient mythology.)

Milton in his Comus makes the Hesperides the daughters of
Hesperus, and nieces of Atlas:

"----- amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus and his daughters three,
That sing about the golden tree."

The poets, led by the analogy of the lovely appearance of the
western sky at sunset, viewed the west as a region of brightness
and glory.  Hence they placed in it the Isles of the blest, the
ruddy isle Erytheia, on which the bright oxen of Geryon were
pastured, and the isle of the Hesperides.  The apples are
supposed by some to be the oranges of Spain, of which the Greeks
had heard some obscure accounts.

A celebrated exploit of Hercules was his victory over Antaeus.
Antaeus, the son of Terra (the Earth) was a mighty giant and
wrestler, whose strength was invincible so long as he remained in
contact with his mother Earth.  He compelled all strangers who
came to his country to wrestle with him, on condition that if
conquered (as they all were), they should be put to death.
Hercules encountered him, and finding that it was of no avail to
throw him, for he always rose with renewed strength from every
fall, he lifted him up from the earth and strangled him in the

Cacus was a huge giant, who inhabited a cave on Mount Aventine
(one of the seven hills of Rome), and plundered the surrounding
country.  When Hercules was driving home the oxen of Geryon,
Cacus stole part of the cattle, while the hero slept.  That their
foot-prints might not serve to show where they had been driven,
he dragged them backward by their tails to his cave; so their
tracks all seemed to show that they had gone in the opposite
direction.  Hercules was deceived by this stratagem, and would
have failed to find his oxen, if it had not happened that in
driving the remainder of the herd past the cave where the stolen
ones were concealed, those within began to low, and were thus
discovered.  Cacus was slain by Hercules.

The last exploit we shall record was bringing Cerberus from the
lower world.  Hercules descended into Hades, accompanied by
Mercury and Minerva.  He obtained permission from Pluto to carry
Cerberus to the upper air, provided he could do it without the
use of weapons; and in spite of the monster's struggling he
seized him, held him fast, and carried him to Eurystheus, and
afterwards brought him back again.  When he was in Hades he
obtained the liberty of Theseus, his admirer and imitator, who
had been detained a prisoner there for an unsuccessful attempt to
carry off Proserpine.

Hercules in a fit of madness killed his friend Iphitus and was
condemned for this offence to become the slave of Queen Omphale
for three years.  While in this service the hero's nature seemed
changed.  He lived effeminately, wearing at times the dress of a
woman, and spinning wool with the handmaidens of Omphale, while
the queen wore his lion's skin.  When this service was ended he
married Dejanira and lived in peace with her three years.  On one
occasion as he was travelling with his wife, they came to a
river, across which the Centaur Nessus carried travellers for a
stated fee.  Hercules himself forded the river, but gave Dejanira
to Nessus to be carried across.  Nessus attempted to run away
with her, but Hercules heard her cries, and shot an arrow into
the heart of Nessus.  The dying Centaur told Dejanira to take a
portion of his blood and keep it, as it might be used as a charm
to preserve the love of her husband.

Dejanira did so, and before long fancied she had occasion to use
it.  Hercules in one of his conquests had taken prisoner a fair
maiden, named Iole, of whom he seemed more fond than Dejanira
approved.  When Hercules was about to offer sacrifices to the
gods in honor of his victory, he sent to his wife for a white
robe to use on the occasion.  Dejanira, thinking it a good
opportunity to try her love-spell, steeped the garment in the
blood of Nessus.  We are to suppose she took care to wash out all
traces of it, but the magic power remained, and as soon as the
garment became warm on the body of Hercules, the poison
penetrated into all his limbs and caused him the most intense
agony.  In his frenzy he seized Lichas, who had brought him the
fatal robe, and hurled him into the sea.  He wrenched off the
garment, but it stuck to his flesh, and with it he tore away
whole pieces of his body.  In this state he embarked on board a
ship and was conveyed home.  Dejanira on seeing what she had
unwittingly done, hung herself.  Hercules, prepared to die,
ascended Mount OEta, where he built a funeral pile of trees, gave
his bow and arrows to Philoctetes, and laid himself down on the
pile, his head resting on his club, and his lion's skin spread
over him.  With a countenance as serene as if he were taking his
place at a festal board, he commanded Philoctetes to apply the
torch.  The flames spread apace and soon invested the whole mass.

Milton thus alludes to the frenzy of Hercules:

"As when Alcides (Alcides, a name of Hercules; the word means
"descendant of Alcaeus"), from OEchalia crowned
With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore,
Through pain, up by the roots Thessalian pines
And Lichas from the top of OEta threw
Into the Euboic Sea."

The gods themselves felt troubled at seeing the champion of the
earth so brought to his end; but Jupiter with cheerful
countenance thus addressed them; "I am pleased to see your
concern, my princes, and am gratified to perceive that I am the
ruler of a loyal people, and that my son enjoys your favor.  For
although your interest in him arises from his noble deeds, yet it
is not the less gratifying to me.  But now I say to you, Fear
not.  He who conquered all else is not to be conquered by those
flames which you see blazing on Mount OEta.  Only his mother's
share in him can perish; what he derived from me is immortal.  I
shall take him, dead to earth, to the heavenly shores, and I
require of you all to receive him kindly.  If any of you feel
grieved at his attaining this honor, yet no one can deny that he
has deserved it."  The gods all gave their assent; Juno only
heard the closing words with some displeasure that she should be
so particularly pointed at, yet not enough to make her regret the
determination of her husband.  So when the flames had consumed
the mother's share of Hercules, the diviner part, instead of
being injured thereby, seemed to start forth with new vigor, to
assume a more lofty port and a more awful dignity.  Jupiter
enveloped him in a cloud, and took him up in a four-horse chariot
to dwell among the stars.  As he took his place in heaven, Atlas
felt the added weight.

Juno, now reconciled to him, gave him her daughter Hebe in

The poet Schiller, in one of his pieces called the Ideal and
Life, illustrates the contrast between the practical and the
imaginative in some beautiful stanzas, of which the last two may
be thus translated:

"Deep degraded to a coward's slave,
Endless contests bore Alcides brave,
Through the thorny path of suffering led;
Slew the Hydra, crushed the lion's might,
Threw himself, to bring his friend to light,
Living, in the skiff that bears the dead.
All the torments, every toil of earth
Juno's hatred on him could impose,
Well he bore them, from his fated birth
To life's grandly mournful close.
Till the god, the earthly part forsaken,
>From the man in flames asunder taken,
Drank the heavenly ether's purer breath.
Joyous in the new unwonted lightness,
Soared he upwards to celestial brightness,
Earth's dark heavy burden lost in death.
High Olympus gives harmonious greeting
To the hall where reigns his sire adored;
Youth's bright goddess, with a blush at meeting,
Gives the nectar to her lord."
S. G. Bulfinch


Hebe, the daughter of Juno, and goddess of youth, was cupbearer
to the gods.  The usual story is, that she resigned her office on
becoming the wife of Hercules.  But there is another statement
which our countryman Crawford, the sculptor, has adopted in his
group of Hebe and Ganymede, now in the gallery of the Boston
Athenaeum.  According to this, Hebe was dismissed from her office
in consequence of a fall which she met with one day when in
attendance on the gods.  Her successor was Ganymede, a Trojan boy
whom Jupiter, in the disguise of an eagle, seized and carried off
from the midst of his playfellows on Mount Ida, bore up to
heaven, and installed in the vacant place.

Tennyson, in his Palace of Art, describes among the decorations
on the walls, a picture representing this legend:

"There, too, flushed Ganymede his rosy thigh
Half buried in the eagle's down,
Sole as a flying star shot through the sky
Above the pillared town."

And in Shelley's Prometheus, Jupiter calls to his cup-bearer

"Pour forth heaven's wine, Idaean Ganymede,
And let it fill the Daedal cups like fire."

The beautiful legend of the Choice of Hercules may be found in
the Tatler, No. 97.  The same story is told in the Memorabilia of

Chapter XIII
Theseus.   Daedalus.   Castor and Pollux

Theseus was the son of AEgeus, king of Athens, and of Aethra,
daughter of the king of Troezene.  He was brought up at Troezene,
and, when arrived at manhood, was to proceed to Athens and
present himself to his father.  AEgeus, on parting from Aethra,
before the birth of his son, placed his sword and shoes under a
large stone, and directed her to send his son to him when he
became strong enough to roll away the stone and take them from
under it.  When she thought the time had come, his mother led
Theseus to the stone, and he removed it with ease, and took the
sword and shoes.   As the roads were infested with robbers, his
grandfather pressed him earnestly to take the shorter and safer
way to his father's country, by sea; but the youth, feeling in
himself the spirit and the soul of a hero, and eager to signalize
himself like Hercules, with whose fame all Greece then rang, by
destroying the evil-doers and monsters that oppressed the
country, determined on the more perilous and adventurous journey
by land.

His first day's journey brought him to Epidaurus, where dwelt a
man named Periphetes, a son of Vulcan.  This ferocious savage
always went armed with a club of iron, and all travellers stood
in terror of his violence.  When he saw Theseus approach, he
assailed him, but speedily fell beneath the blows of the young
hero, who took possession of his club, and bore it ever
afterwards as a memorial of his first victory.

Several similar contests with the petty tyrants and marauders of
the country followed, in all of which Theseus was victorious.
One of these evil-doers was called Procrustes, or the Stretcher.
He had an iron bedstead, on which he used to tie all travellers
who fell into his hands.  If they were shorter than the bed, he
stretched their limbs to make them fit it; if they were longer
than the bed, he lopped off a portion.  Theseus served him as he
had served others.

Having overcome all the perils of the road, Theseus at length
reached Athens, where new dangers awaited him.  Medea, the
sorceress, who had fled from Corinth after her separation from
Jason, had become the wife of AEgeus, the father of Theseus.
Knowing by her arts who he was, and fearing the loss of her
influence with her husband, if Theseus should be acknowledged as
his son, she filled the mind of AEgeus with suspicions of the
young stranger, and induced him to present him a cup of poison;
but at the moment when Theseus stepped forward to take it, the
sight of the sword which he wore discovered to his father who he
was, and prevented the fatal draught.  Medea, detected in her
arts, fled once more from deserved punishment, and arrived in
Asia, where the country afterwards called Media received its name
from her.  Theseus was acknowledged by his father, and declared
his successor.

The Athenians were at that time in deep affliction, on account of
the tribute which they were forced to pay to Minos, king of
Crete.  This tribute consisted of seven youths and seven maidens,
who were sent every year to be devoured by the Minotaur, a
monster with a bull's body and a human head.  It was exceedingly
strong and fierce, and was kept in a labyrinth constructed by
Daedalus, so artfully contrived that whoever was enclosed in it
could by no means find his way out unassisted.  Here the Minotaur
roamed, and was fed with human victims.

Theseus resolved to deliver his countrymen from this calamity, or
to die in the attempt.  Accordingly, when the time of sending off
the tribute came, and the youths and maidens were, according to
custom, drawn by lot to be sent, he offered himself as one of the
victims, in spite of the entreaties of his father.  The ship
departed under black sails, as usual, which Theseus promised his
father to change for white, in case of his returning victorious.
When they arrived in Crete, the youths and maidens were exhibited
before Minos; and Ariadne, the daughter of the king, being
present, became deeply enamored of Theseus, by whom her love was
readily returned.  She furnished him with a sword, with which to
encounter the Minotaur, and with a clew of thread by which he
might find his way out of the labyrinth.  He was successful, slew
the Minotaur, escaped from the labyrinth, and taking Ariadne as
the companion of his way, with his rescued companions sailed for
Athens.  On their way they stopped at the island of Naxos, where
Theseus abandoned Ariadne, leaving her asleep.  For Minerva had
appeared to Theseus in a dream, and warned him that Ariadne was
destined to be the wife of Bacchus, the wine-god.  (One of the
finest pieces of sculpture in Italy, the recumbent Ariadne of the
Vatican, represents this incident.  A copy is in the Athenaeum
gallery, Boston.  The celebrated statue of Ariadne, by Danneker,
represents her as riding on the tiger of Bacchus, at a somewhat
later period of her story.)

On approaching the coast of Attica, Theseus, intent on Ariadne,
forgot the signal appointed by his father, and neglected to raise
the white sails, and the old king, thinking his son had perished,
put an end to his own life.  Theseus thus became king of Athens.

One of the most celebrated of the adventures of Theseus is his
expedition against the Amazons.  He assailed them before they had
recovered from the attack of Hercules, and carried off their
queen, Antiope.  The Amazons in their turn invaded the country of
Athens and penetrated into the city itself; and the final battle
in which Theseus overcame them was fought in the very midst of
the city.  This battle was one of the favorite subjects of the
ancient sculptors, and is commemorated in several works of art
that are still extant.

The friendship between Theseus and Pirithous was of a most
intimate nature, yet it originated in the midst of arms.
Pirithous had made an irruption into the plain of Marathon, and
carried off the herds of the king of Athens.  Theseus went to
repel the plunderers.  The moment Pirithous beheld him, he was
seized with admiration; he stretched out his hand as a token of
peace, and cried, "Be judge thyself,   what satisfaction dost
thou require?"  "Thy friendship," replied the Athenian, and they
swore inviolable fidelity.  Their deeds corresponded to their
professions, and they ever continued true brothers in arms.  Each
of them aspired to espouse a daughter of Jupiter.  Theseus fixed
his choice on Helen, then but a child, afterwards so celebrated
as the cause of the Trojan war, and with the aid of his friend he
carried her off.  Pirithous aspired to the wife of the monarch of
Erebus; and Theseus, though aware of the danger, accompanied the
ambitious lover in his descent to the underworld.  But Pluto
seized and set them on an enchanted rock at his palace gate,
where they remained till Hercules arrived and liberated Theseus,
leaving Pirithous to his fate.

After the death of Antiope, Theseus married Phaedra, daughter of
Minos, king of Crete.  Phaedra saw in Hippolytus, the son of
Theseus, a youth endowed with all the graces and virtues of his
father, and of an age corresponding to her own.  She loved him,
but he repulsed her advances, and her love was changed to hate.
She used her influence over her infatuated husband to cause him
to be jealous of his son, and he imprecated the vengeance of
Neptune upon him.  As Hippolytus was one day driving his chariot
along the shore, a sea-monster raised himself above the waters,
and frightened the horses so that they ran away and dashed the
chariot to pieces.  Hippolytus was killed, but by Diana's
assistance Aesculapius restored him to life.  Diana removed
Hippolytus from the power of his deluded father and false
stepmother, and placed him in Italy under the protection of the
nymph Egeria.

Theseus at length lost the favor of his people, and retired to
the court of Lycomedes, king of Scyros, who at first received him
kindly, but afterwards treacherously slew him.  In a later age
the Athenian general Cimon discovered the place where his remains
were laid, and caused them to be removed to Athens, where they
were deposited in a temple called the Theseum, erected in honor
of the hero.

The queen of the Amazons whom Theseus espoused is by some called
Hippolyta.  That is the name she bears in Shakespeare's Midsummer
Night's Dream,   the subject of which is the festivities
attending the nuptials of Theseus and Hippolyta.

Mrs. Hemans has a poem on the ancient Greek tradition that the
"Shade of Theseus" appeared strengthening his countrymen at the
battle of Marathon.

Mr. Lewis Morris has a beautiful poem on Helen, in the Epic of
Hades.  In these lines Helen describes how she was seized by
Theseus and his friend:

----------"There came a night
When I lay longing for my love, and knew
Sudden the clang of hoofs, the broken doors,
The clash of swords, the shouts, the groans, the stain
Of red upon the marble, the fixed gaze
Of dead and dying eyes,   that was the time
When first I looked on death,   and when I woke
>From my deep swoon, I felt the night air cool
Upon my brow, and the cold stars look down,
As swift we galloped o'er the darkling plain
And saw the chill sea-glimpses slowly wake,
With arms unknown around me.  When the dawn
Broke swift, we panted on the pathless steeps,
And so by plain and mountain till we came
to Athens, ----------."

Theseus is a semi-historical personage.  It is recorded of him
that he united the several tribes by whom the territory of Attica
was then possessed into one state, of which Athens was the
capital.  In commemoration of this important event, he instituted
the festival of Panathenaea, in honor of Minerva, the patron
deity of Athens.  This festival differed from the other Grecian
games chiefly in two particulars.  It was peculiar to the
Athenians, and its chief feature was a solemn procession in which
the Peplus or sacred robe of Minerva was carried to the
Parthenon, and suspended before the statue of the goddess.  The
Peplus was covered with embroidery, worked by select virgins of
the noblest families in Athens.  The procession consisted of
persons of all ages and both sexes.  The old men carried olive-
branches in their hands, and the young men bore arms.  The young
women carried baskets on their heads, containing the sacred
utensils, cakes, and all things necessary for the sacrifices.
The procession formed the subject of the bas-reliefs by Phidias
which embellished the outside of the temple of the Parthenon.  A
considerable portion of these sculptures is now in the British
museum among those known as the "Elgin marbles."


We may mention here the other celebrated national games of the
Greeks.  The first and most distinguished were the Olympic,
founded, it was said , by Jupiter himself.  They were celebrated
at Olympia in Elis.  Vast numbers of spectators flocked to them
from every part of Greece, and from Asia, Africa, and Sicily.
They were repeated every fifth year in midsummer, and continued
five days.  They gave rise to the custom of reckoning time and
dating events by Olympiads.  The first Olympiad is generally
considered as corresponding with the year 776 B.C.  The Pythian
games were celebrated in the vicinity of Delphi, the Isthmian on
the Corinthian isthmus, the Nemean at Nemea, a city of Argolis.

The exercises in these games were of five sorts: running,
leaping, wrestling, throwing the quoit, and hurling the javelin,
or boxing.  Besides these exercises of bodily strength and
agility, there were contests in music, poetry, and eloquence.
Thus these games furnished poets, musicians, and authors the best
opportunities to present their productions to the public, and the
fame of the victors was diffused far and wide.


The labyrinth from which Theseus escaped by means of the clew of
Ariadne, was built by Daedalus, a most skilful artificer.  It was
an edifice with numberless winding passages and turnings opening
into one another, and seeming to have neither beginning nor end,
like the river Maender, which returns on itself, and flows now
onward, now backward, in its course to the sea.  Daedalus built
the labyrinth for King Minos, but afterwards lost the favor of
the king, and was shut up in a tower.  He contrived to make his
escape from his prison, but could not leave the island by sea, as
the king kept strict watch on all the vessels, and permitted none
to sail without being carefully searched.  "Minos may control the
land and sea,:" said Daedalus, "but not the regions of the air.
I will try that way."  So he set to work to fabricate wings for
himself and his young son Icarus.  He wrought feathers together
beginning with the smallest and adding larger, so as to form an
increasing surface.  The larger ones he secured with thread and
the smaller with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like
the wings of a bird.  Icarus, the boy, stood and looked on,
sometimes running to gather up the feathers which the wind had
blown away, and then handling the wax and working it over with
his fingers, by his play impeding his father in his labors.  When
at last the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found
himself buoyed upward and hung suspended, poising himself on the
beaten air.  He next equipped his son in the same manner, and
taught him how to fly, as a bird tempts her young ones from the
lofty nest into the air.  When all was prepared for flight, he
said, "Icarus, my son, I charge you to keep at a moderate height,
for if you fly too low the damp will clog your wings, and if too
high the heat will melt them.  Keep near me and you will be
safe."  While he gave him these instructions and fitted the wings
to his shoulders, the face of the father was wet with tears, and
his hands trembled.  He kissed the boy, not knowing that it was
for the last time.  Then rising on his wings he flew off,
encouraging him to follow, and looked back from his own flight to
see how his son managed his wings.  As they flew the ploughman
stopped his work to gaze, and the shepherd learned on his staff
and watched them, astonished at the sight, and thinking they were
gods who could thus cleave the air.

They passed Samos and Delos on the left and Lebynthos on the
right, when the boy, exulting in his career, began to leave the
guidance of his companion and soar upward as if to reach heaven.
The nearness of the blazing sun softened the wax which held the
feathers together, and they came off.  He fluttered with his
arms, but no feathers remained to hold the air.  While his mouth
uttered cries to his father, it was submerged in the blue waters
of the sea, which thenceforth was called by his name.  His father
cried, "Icarus, Icarus, where are you?" At last he saw the
feathers floating on the water, and bitterly lamenting his own
arts, he buried the body and called the land Icaria in memory of
his child.  Daedalus arrived safe in Sicily, where he built a
temple to Apollo, and hung up his wings, an offering to the god.

Daedalus was so proud of his achievements that he could not bear
the idea of a rival.  His sister had placed her son Perdix under
his charge to be taught the mechanical arts.  He was an apt
scholar and gave striking evidences of ingenuity.  Walking
on the seashore he picked up the spine of a fish.  Imitating it,
he took a piece of iron and notched it on the edge, and thus
invented the SAW.  He put two pieces of iron together, connecting
them at one end with a rivet, and sharpening the other ends, and
made a PAIR OF COMPASSES.  Daedalus was so envious of his
nephew's performances that he took an opportunity, when they were
together one day on the top of a high tower, to push him off.
But Minerva, who favors ingenuity, saw him falling, and arrested
his fate by changing him into a bird called after his name, the
Partridge.  This bird does not build his next in the trees, nor
take lofty flights, but nestles in the hedges, and mindful of his
fall, avoids high places.

The death of Icarus is told in the following lines by Darwin:

"---------- with melting wax and loosened strings
Sunk hapless Icarus on unfaithful wings;
Headlong he rushed through the affrighted air,
With limbs distorted and dishevelled hair;
His scattered plumage danced upon the wave,
And sorrowing Nereids decked his watery grave;
O'er his pale corse their pearly sea-flowers shed,
And strewed with crimson moss his marble bed;
Struck in their coral towers the passing bell,
And wide in ocean tolled his echoing knell."


Castor and Pollux were the offspring of Leda and the Swan, under
which disguise Jupiter had concealed himself.  Leda gave birth to
an egg, from which sprang the twins.  Helen, so famous afterwards
as the cause of the Trojan war, was their sister.

When Theseus and his friend Pirithous had carried off Helen from
Sparta, the youthful heroes Castor and Pollux, with their
followers, hasted to her rescue.  Theseus was absent from Attica,
and the brothers were successful in recovering their sister.

Castor was famous for taming and managing horses, and Pollux for
skill in boxing.  They were united by the warmest affection, and
inseparable in all their enterprises.  They accompanied the
Argonautic expedition.  During the voyage a storm arose, and
Orpheus prayed to the Samothracian gods, and played on his harp,
whereupon the storm ceased and stars appeared on the heads of the
brothers.  From this incident, Castor and Pollux came afterwards
to be considered the patron deities of seamen and voyagers (One
of the ships in which St. Paul sailed was named the Castor and
Pollux.  See Acts xxviii.II.), and the lambent flames, which in
certain sates of the atmosphere play round the sails and masts of
vessels, were called by their names.

After the Argonautic expedition, we find Castor and Pollux
engaged in a war with Idas and Lynceus.  Castor was slain, and
Pollux, inconsolable for the loss of his brother, besought
Jupiter to be permitted to give his own life as a ransom for him.
Jupiter so far consented as to allow the two brothers to enjoy
the boon of life alternately, passing one day under the earth and
the next in the heavenly abodes.  According to another form of
the story, Jupiter rewarded the attachment of the brothers by
placing them among the stars as Gemini, the Twins.

They received divine honors under the name of Dioscuri (sons of
Jove).  They were believed to have appeared occasionally in later
times, taking part with one side or the other, in hard-fought
fields, and were said on such occasions to be mounted on
magnificent white steeds.  Thus, in the early history of Rome,
they are said to have assisted the Romans at the battle of Lake
Regillus, and after the victory a temple was erected in their
honor on the spot where they appeared.

Macaulay, in his Lays of Ancient Rome, thus alludes to the

"So like they were, no mortal
Might one from other know;
White as snow their armor was,
Their steeds were white as snow.
Never on earthly anvil
Did such rare armor gleam,
And never did such gallant steeds
Drink of an earthly stream.
                                        .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

"Back comes the chief in triumph
Who in the hour of fight
Hath seen the great Twin Brethren
In harness on his right.
Safe comes the ship to haven
Through billows and through gales,
If once the great Twin Brethren
Sit shining on the sails."

In the poem of Atalanta in Calydon Mr. Swinburne thus describes
the little Helen and Clytemnestra, the sisters of Castor and


"Even such I saw their sisters, one swan white,
The little Helen, and less fair than she,
Fair Clytemnestra, grave as pasturing fawns,
Who feed and fear the arrow; but at whiles,
As one smitten with love or wrung with joy,
She laughs and lightens with her eyes, and then
Weeps; whereat Helen, having laughed, weeps too,
And the other chides her, and she being chid speaks naught,
But cheeks and lips and eyelids kisses her,
Laughing; so fare they, as in their blameless bud,
And full of unblown life, the blood of gods."


"Sweet days before them, and good loves and lords,
And tender and temperate honors of the hearth;
Peace, and a perfect life and blameless bed"

Chapter XIV
Bacchus.   Ariadne

Bacchus was the son of Jupiter and Semele.  Juno, to gratify her
resentment against Semele, contrived a plan for her destruction.
Assuming the form of Beroe, her aged nurse, she insinuated doubts
whether it was indeed Jove himself who came as a lover.  Heaving
a sigh, she said, "I hope it will turn out so, but I can't help
being afraid.  People are not always what they pretend to be.  If
he is indeed Jove, make him give some proof of it.  Ask him to
come arrayed in all his splendors, such as he wears in heaven.
That will put the matter beyond a doubt."  Semele was persuaded
to try the experiment.  She asks a favor, without naming what it
is.  Jove gives his promise and confirms it with the irrevocable
oath, attesting the river Styx, terrible to the gods themselves.
Then she made know her request.  The god would have stopped her
as she spake, but she was too quick for him.  The words escaped,
and he could neither unsay his promise nor her request.  In deep
distress he left her and returned to the upper regions.  There he
clothed himself in his splendors, not putting on all his terrors,
as when he overthrew the giants, but what is known among the gods
as his lesser panoply.  Arrayed in this he entered the chamber of
Semele.  Her mortal frame could not endure the splendors of the
immortal radiance.  She was consumed to ashes.

Jove took the infant Bacchus and gave him in charge to the
Nysaean nymphs, who nourished his infancy and childhood, and for
their care were rewarded by Jupiter by being placed, as the
Hyades, among the stars.  When Bacchus grew up he discovered the
culture of the vine and the mode of extracting its precious
juice; but Juno struck him with madness, and drove him forth a
wanderer through various parts of the earth.  In Phrygia the
goddess Rhea cured him and taught him her religious rites, and he
set out on a progress through Asia teaching the people the
cultivation of the vine.  The most famous part of his wanderings
is his expedition to India, which is said to have lasted several
years.  Returning in triumph he undertook to introduce his
worship into Greece, but was opposed by some princes who dreaded
its introduction on account of the disorders and madness it
brought with it.

As he approached his native city Thebes, Pentheus the king, who
had no respect for the new worship, forbade its rites to be
performed.  But when it was known that Bacchus was advancing, men
and women, but chiefly the latter, young and old poured forth to
meet him and to join his triumphal march.

Mr. Longfellow in his Drinking Song thus describes the march of

"Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;
Ivy crowns that brow, supernal
As the forehead of Apollo,
And possessing youth eternal.

"Round about him fair Bacchantes,
Bearing cymbals, flutes and thyrses,
Wild from Naxian groves or Zante's
Vineyards, sing delirious verses."

It was in vain Pentheus remonstrated, commanded, and threatened.
"Go," said he to his attendants, "seize this vagabond leader of
the rout and bring him to me.  I will soon make him confess his
false claim of heavenly parentage and renounce his counterfeit
worship."  It was in vain his nearest friends and wisest
counselors remonstrated and begged him not to oppose the god.
Their remonstrances only made him more violent.

But now the attendants returned whom he had despatched to seize
Bacchus.  They had been driven away by the Bacchanals, but had
succeeded in taking one of them prisoner, whom, with his hands
tied behind him, they brought before the king.  Pentheus
beholding him, with wrathful countenance said, "Fellow!  You
shall speedily be put to death, that your fate may be a warning
to others; but though I grudge the delay of your punishment,
speak, tell us who you are, and what are these new rites you
presume to celebrate."

The prisoner unterrified responded, "My name is Acetes; my
country is Maeonia; my parents were poor people, who had no
fields or flocks to leave me, but they left me their fishing rods
and nets and their fisherman's trade.  This I followed for some
time, till growing weary of remaining in one place, I learned the
pilot's art and how to guide my course by the stars.  It happened
as I was sailing for Delos, we touched at the island of Dia and
went ashore.  Next morning I sent the men for fresh water and
myself mounted the hill to observe the wind; when my men returned
bringing with them a prize, as they thought, a boy of delicate
appearance, whom they had found asleep.  They judged he was a
noble youth, perhaps a king's son, and they might get a liberal
ransom for him.  I observed his dress, his walk, his face.  There
was something in them which I felt sure was more than mortal.  I
said to my men, 'What god there is concealed in that form I know
not, but some one there certainly is.  Pardon us, gentle deity,
for the violence we have done you, and give success to our
undertakings.'  Dictys, one of my best hands for climbing the
mast and coming down by the ropes, and Melanthus, my steersman,
and Epopeus the leader of the sailors' cry, one and all
exclaimed, 'Spare your prayers for us.'  So blind is the lust of
gain!  When they proceeded to put him on board I resisted them.
'This ship shall not be profaned by such impiety,' said I. 'I
have a greater share in her than any of you.'  But Lycabas, a
turbulent fellow, seized me by the throat and attempted to throw
me overboard, and I scarcely saved myself by clinging to the
ropes.  The rest approved the deed.

"Then Bacchus, for it was indeed he, as if shaking off his
drowsiness, exclaimed, 'What are you doing with me?  What is this
fighting about?  Who brought me here?  Where are you going to
carry me?'  One of them replied, 'fear nothing; tell us where you
wish to go and we will take you there.'  "Naxos is my home,' said
Bacchus; 'take me there and you shall be well rewarded.'  They
promised so to do, and told me to pilot the ship to Naxos.  Naxos
lay to the right, and I was trimming the sails to carry us there,
when some by signs and others by whispers signified to me their
will that I should sail in the opposite direction, and take the
boy to Egypt to sell him for a slave.  I was confounded and said,
'Let some one else pilot the ship;' withdrawing myself from any
further agency in their wickedness.  They cursed me, and one of
them exclaiming, 'Don't flatter yourself that we depend on you
for our safety,' took my place as pilot, and bore away from

"Then the god, pretending that he had just become aware of their
treachery, looked out over the sea and said in a voice of
weeping, 'Sailors, these are not the shores you promised to take
me to; yonder island is not my home.  What have I done that you
should treat me so?  It is small glory you will gain by cheating
a poor boy.'  I wept to hear him, but the crew laughed at both of
us, and sped the vessel fast over the sea.  All at once   strange
as it may seem, it is true   the vessel stopped, in the mid sea,
as fast as if it was fixed on the ground.  The men, astonished,
pulled at their oars, and spread more sail, trying to make
progress by the aid of both, but all in vain.  Ivy twined round
the oars and hindered their motion, and clung with its heavy
clusters of berries to the sails.  A vine, laden with grapes, ran
up the mast, and along the sides of the vessel.  The sound of
flutes was heard and the odor of fragrant wine spread all around.
The god himself had a chaplet of vine leaves, and bore in his
hand a spear wreathed with ivy.  Tigers crouched at his feet, and
lynxes and spotted panthers played around him.  The sailors were
seized with terror or madness; some leaped overboard; others,
preparing to do the same, beheld their companions in the water
undergoing a change, their bodies becoming flattened and ending
in a crooked tail.  One exclaimed, 'What miracle is this!' and as
he spoke his mouth widened, his nostrils expanded, and scales
covered all his body.  Another endeavoring to pull the oar felt
his hands shrink up, and presently to be no longer hands but
fins; another trying to raise his arms to a rope found he had no
arms, and curving his mutilated body, jumped into the sea.  What
had been his legs became the two ends of a crescent-shaped tail.
The whole crew became dolphins and swam about the ship, now upon
the surface, now under it, scattering the spray, and spouting the
water from their broad nostrils.  Of twenty men I alone was left.
The god cheered me, as I trembled with fear.  'Fear not,' said
he; 'steer toward Naxos.'  I obeyed, and when we arrived there, I
kindled the altars and celebrated the sacred rites of Bacchus."

Pentheus here exclaimed, "We have wasted time enough on this
silly story.  Take him away and have him executed without delay."
Acetes was led away by the attendants and shut up fast in prison;
but while they were getting ready the instruments of execution,
the prison doors opened of their own accord and the chains fell
from his limbs, and when the guards looked for him he was no
where to be found.

Pentheus would take no warning, but instead of sending others,
determined to go himself to the scene of the solemnities.  The
mountain Cithaeron was all alive with worshippers, and the cries
of the Bacchanals resounded on every side.  The noise roused the
anger of Pentheus as the sound of a trumpet does the fire of a
war-horse.  He penetrated the wood and reached an open space
where the wildest scene of the orgies met his eyes.  At the same
moment the women saw him; and first among them his own mother,
Agave, blinded by the god, cried out, "See there the wild boar,
the hugest monster that prowls in these woods!  Come on, sisters!
I will be the first to strike the wild boar."  The whole band
rushed upon him, and while he now talks less arrogantly, now
excuses himself, and now confesses his crime and implores pardon,
they press upon and wound him.  In vain he cries to his aunts to
protect him from his mother.  Autonoe seized one arm, Ino the
other, and between them he was torn to pieces, while his mother
shouted, "Victory!  Victory!  We have done it; the glory is

So the worship of Bacchus was established in Greece.

There is an allusion to the story of Bacchus and the mariners in
Milton's Comus, at line 46.  The story of Circe will be found in
Chapter XXII.

"Bacchus that first from out the purple grape
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transformed,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore as the winds listed
On Circe's island fell; (who knows not Circe,
The daughter of the Sun?  Whose charmed cup
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine.)"


We have seen in the story of Theseus how Ariadne, the daughter of
King Minos, after helping Theseus to escape from the labyrinth,
was carried by him to the island of Naxos and was left there
asleep, while Theseus pursued his way home without her.  Ariadne,
on waking and finding herself deserted, abandoned herself to
grief.  But Venus took pity on her, and consoled her with the
promise that she should have an immortal lover, instead of the
mortal one she had lost.

The island where Ariadne was left was the favorite island of
Bacchus, the same that he wished the Tyrrhenian mariners to carry
him to, when they so treacherously attempted to make prize of
him.  As Ariadne sat lamenting her fate, Bacchus found her,
consoled her and made her his wife as Minerva had prophesied to
Theseus.  As a marriage present he gave her a golden crown,
enriched with gems, and when she died, he took her crown and
threw it up into the sky.  As it mounted the gems grew brighter
and were turned into stars, and preserving its form Ariadne's
crown remains fixed in the heavens as a constellation, between
the kneeling Hercules and the man who holds the serpent.

Spenser alludes to Ariadne's crown, though he has made some
mistakes in his mythology.  It was at the wedding of Pirithous,
and not Theseus, that the Centaurs and Lapithae quarrelled.

"Look how the crown which Ariadne wore
Upon her ivory forehead that same day
That Theseus her unto his bridal bore,
When the bold Centaurs made that bloody fray
With the fierce Lapiths which did them dismay;
Being now placed in the firmament,
Through the bright heaven doth her beams display,
And is unto the stars an ornament,
Which round about her move in order excellent."

Chapter XV
The Rural Deities.   Erisichthon.   Rhoecus.   The Water Deities.
  Camenae.   Winds.

Pan, the god of woods and fields, of flocks and shepherds, dwelt
in grottos, wandered on the mountains and in valleys, and amused
himself with the chase or in leading the dances of the nymphs.
He was fond of music, and, as we have seen, the inventor of the
syrinx, or shepherd's pipe, which he himself played in a masterly
manner.  Pan, like other gods who dwelt in forests, was dreaded
by those whose occupations caused them to pass through the woods
by night, for the gloom and loneliness of such scenes dispose the
mind to superstitious fears.  Hence sudden fright without any
visible cause was ascribed to Pan, and called a Panic terror.

As the name of the god signifies in Greek, ALL, Pan came to be
considered a symbol of the universe and personification of
Nature; and later still to be regarded as a representative of all
the gods, and heathenism itself.

Sylvanus and Faunus were Latin divinities, whose characteristics
are so nearly the same as those of Pan that we may safely
consider them as the same personage under different names.

The wood-nymphs, Pan's partners in the dance, were but one of
several classes of nymphs.  There were beside them the Naiads,
who presided over brooks and fountains, the Oreads, nymphs of
mountains and grottos, and the Nereids, sea-nymphs.  The three
last named were immortal, but the wood-nymphs, called Dryads or
Hamadryads, were believed to perish with the trees which had been
their abode, and with which they had come into existence.  It was
therefore an impious act wantonly to destroy a tree, and in some
aggravated cases was severely punished, as in the instance of
Erisichthon, which we shall soon record.

Milton, in his glowing description of the early creation, thus
alludes to Pan as the personification of Nature:

"Universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on the eternal spring."

And describing Eve's abode:

"In shadier bower
More sacred or sequestered, though but feigned,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor nymph
Nor Faunus haunted."
Paradise lost, B. IV.

It was a pleasing trait in the old Paganism that it loved to
trace in every operation of nature the agency of deity.  The
imagination of the Greeks peopled all the regions of earth and
sea with divinities, to whose agency it attributed those
phenomena which our philosophy ascribes to the operation of the
laws of nature.  Sometimes in our poetical moods we feel disposed
to regret the change, and to think that the heart has lost as
much as the head has gained by the substitution.  The poet
Wordsworth thus strongly expresses this sentiment:

"Great God, I'd rather be
A Pagan, suckled in a creed outworn.
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from th4e sea,
And hear old Tritou blow his wreathed horn."

Schiller, in his poem The Gods of Greece, expresses his regret
for the overthrow of the beautiful mythology of ancient times in
a way which has called forth an answer from a Christian poetess,
Mrs. Browning, in her poem called The Dead Pan.  The two
following verses are a specimen:

"By your beauty which confesses
Some chief Beauty conquering you,
By our grand heroic guesses
Through your falsehood at the True,
We will weep NOT!  Earth shall roll
Heir to each god's aureole,
And Pan is dead.

"Earth outgrows the mythic fancies
Sung beside her in her youth;
And those debonaire romances
Sound but dull beside the truth.
Phoebus' chariot course is run!
Look up poets, to the sun!
Pan, Pan is dead."

These lines are founded on an early Christian tradition that when
the heavenly host told the shepherds at Bethlehem of the birth of
Christ, a deep groan, heard through all the isles of Greece, told
that the great Pan was dead, and that all the royalty of Olympus
was dethroned, and the several deities were sent wandering in
cold and darkness.  So Milton, in his Hymn to the Nativity:

"The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
>From haunted spring and dale,
Edged with poplar pale,
The parting genius is with sighing sent;
With flower-enwoven tresses torn,
The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn."


Erisichthon was a profane person and a despiser of the gods.  On
one occasion he presumed to violate with the axe a grove sacred
to Ceres.  There stood in this grove a venerable oak, so large
that it seemed a wood in itself, its ancient trunk towering
aloft, whereon votive garlands were often hung and inscriptions
carved expressing the gratitude of suppliants to the nymph of the
tree.  Often had the Dryads danced round it hand in hand.  Its
trunk measured fifteen cubits round, and it overtopped the other
trees as they overtopped the shrubbery.  But for all that,
Erisichthon saw no reason why he should spare it, and he ordered
his servants to cut it down.  When he saw them hesitate, he
snatched an axe from one, and thus impiously exclaimed, :"I care
not whether it be a tree beloved of the Goddess or not; were it
the goddess herself it should come down, if it stood in my way."
So saying, he lifted the axe, and the oak seemed to shudder and
utter a groan.  When the first blow fell upon the trunk, blood
flowed from the wound.  All the bystanders were horror-struck,
and one of them ventured to remonstrate and hold back the fatal
axe.  Erisichthon with a scornful look, said to him, "Receive the
reward of your piety;" and turned against him the weapon which he
had held aside from the tree, gashed his body with many wounds,
and cut off his head.  Then from the midst of the oak came a
voice, "I who dwell in this tree am a nymph beloved of Ceres, and
dying by your hands, forewarn you that punishment awaits you."
He desisted not from his crime, and at last the tree, sundered by
repeated blows and drawn by ropes, fell with a crash, and
prostrated a great part of the grove in its fall.

The Dryads, in dismay at the loss of their companion, and at
seeing the pride of the forest laid low, went in a body to Ceres,
all clad in garments of mourning, and invoked punishment upon
Erisichthon.  She nodded her assent, and as she bowed her head
the grain ripe for harvest in the laden fields bowed also.  She
planned a punishment so dire that one would pity him, if such a
culprit as he could be pitied   to deliver him over to Famine.
As Ceres herself could not approach Famine, for the Fates have
ordained that these two goddesses shall never come together, she
called an Oread from her mountain and spoke to her in these
words: "There is a place in the farthest part of ice-clad
Scythia, a sad and sterile region without trees and without
crops.  Cold dwells there, and Fear, and Shuddering, and Famine.
Go to Famine and tell her to take possession of the bowels of
Erisichthon.  Let not abundance subdue her, nor the power of my
gifts drive her away.  Be not alarmed at the distance," (for
Famine dwells very far from Ceres,) "but take my chariot.  The
dragons are fleet and obey the rein, and will take you through
the air in a short time."  So she gave her the reins, and she
drove away and soon reached Scythia.  On arriving at Mount
Caucasus she stopped the dragons and found Famine in a stony
field, pulling up with teeth and claws the scanty herbage.  Her
hair was rough, her eyes sunk, her face pale, her lips blanched,
her jaws covered with dust, and her skin drawn tight, so as to
show all her bones.  As the Oread saw her afar off (for she did
not dare to come near) she delivered the commands of Ceres; and
though she stopped as short a time as possible, and kept her
distance as well as she could, yet she began to feel hungry, and
turned the dragons' heads and drove back to Thessaly.

In obedience to the commands of Ceres, Famine sped through the
air to the dwelling of Erisichthon, entered the bed-chamber of
the guilty man, and found him asleep.  She enfolded him with her
wings and breathed herself into him, infusing her poison into his
veins.  Having discharged her task, she hastened to leave the
land of plenty and returned to her accustomed haunts.
Erisichthon still slept, and in his dreams craved food, and moved
his jaws as if eating.  When he awoke his hunger was raging.
Without a moment's delay he would have food set before him, of
whatever kind earth, sea, or air produces; and complained of
hunger even while he ate.  What would have sufficed for a city or
a nation was not enough for him.  The more he ate, the move he
craved.  His hunger was like the sea, which receives all the
rivers, yet is never filled; or like fire that burns all the fuel
that is heaped upon it, yet is still voracious for more.

His property rapidly diminished under the unceasing demands of
his appetite, but his hunger continued unabated.  At length he
had spent all, and had only his daughter left, a daughter worthy
of a better parent.  HER TOO HE SOLD.  She scorned to be the
slave of a purchaser, and as she stood by the seaside, raised her
hands in prayer to Neptune.  He heard her prayer, and, though her
new master was not far off, and had his eye upon her a moment
before, Neptune changed her form, and made her assume that of a
fisherman busy at his occupation.  Her master, looking for her
and seeing her in her altered form, addressed her and said, "Good
fisherman, whither went the maiden whom I saw just now, with hair
dishevelled and in humble garb, standing about where you stand?
Tell me truly; so may your luck be good, and not a fish nibble at
your hook and get away."   She perceived that her prayer was
answered, and rejoiced inwardly at hearing the question asked her
of herself.  She replied, "Pardon me, stranger, but I have been
so intent upon my line, that I have seen nothing else; but I wish
I may never catch another fish if I believe any woman or other
person except myself to have been hereabouts for some time."  He
was deceived and went his way, thinking his slave had escaped.
Then she resumed her own form.  Her father was well pleased to
find her still with him, and the money too that he got by the
sale of her; so he sold her again.  But she was changed by the
favor of Neptune as often as she was sold, now into a horse, now
a bird, now an ox, and now a stag,   got away from her purchasers
and came home.  By this base method the starving father procured
food; but not enough for his wants, and at last hunger compelled
him to devour his limbs, and he strove to nourish his body by
eating his body, till death relieved him from the vengeance of


The Hamadryads could appreciate services as well as punish
injuries.  The story of Rhoecus proves this.  Rhoecus, happening
to see an oak just ready to fall, ordered his servants to prop it
up.  The nymph, who had been on the point of perishing with the
tree, came and expressed her gratitude to him for having saved
her life, and bade him ask what reward he would have for it.
Rhoecus boldly asked her love, and the nymph yielded to his
desire.  She at the same time charged him to be constant, and
told him that a bee should be her messenger, and let him know
when she would admit his society.  One time the bee came to
Rhoecus when he was playing at draughts, and he carelessly
brushed it away.  This so incensed the nymph that she deprived
him of sight.

Our countryman, James Russell Lowell, has taken this story for
the subject of one of his shorter poems.  He introduces it thus:

"Hear now this fairy legend of old Greece,
As full of freedom, youth and beauty still,
As the immortal freshness of that grace
Carved for all ages on some Attic frieze."


Oceanus and Tethys were the Titans who ruled over the Sea.  When
Jove and his brothers overthrew the Titans and assumed their
power, Neptune and Amphitrite succeeded to the dominion of the
waters in place of Oceanus and Tethys.


Neptune was the chief of the water deities.  The symbol of his
power was the trident, or spear with three points, with which he
used to shatter rocks, to call forth or subdue storms, to shake
the shores, and the like.  He created the horse, and was the
patron of horse races.  His own horses had brazen hoofs and
golden manes.  They drew his chariot over the sea, which became
smooth before him, while the monsters of the deep gambolled about
his path.


Amphitrite was the wife of Neptune.  She was the daughter of
Nereus and Doris, and the mother of Triton.  Neptune, to pay his
court to Amphitrite, came riding on the dolphin.  Having won her,
he rewarded the dolphin by placing him among the stars.


Nereus and Doris were the parents of the Nereids, the most
celebrated of whom were Amphitrite, Thetis, the mother of
Achilles, and Galatea, who was loved by the Cyclops Polyphemus.
Nereus was distinguished for his knowledge, and his love of truth
and justice, and is described as the wise and unerring Old Man of
the Sea.  The gift of prophecy was also ascribed to him.


Triton was the son of Neptune and Amphitrite, and the poets make
him his father's trumpeter.  Proteus was also a son of Neptune.
He, like Nereus, is styled a sea-elder for his wisdom and
knowledge of future events.    His peculiar power was that of
changing his shape at will.


Thetis, the daughter of Nereus and Doris, was so beautiful that
Jupiter himself sought her in marriage; but having learned from
Prometheus the Titan, that Thetis should bear a son who should be
greater than his father, Jupiter desisted from his suit and
decreed that Thetis should be the wife of a mortal.  By the aid
of Chiron the Centaur, Peleus succeeded in winning the goddess
for his bride, and their son was the renowned Achilles.  In our
chapter on the Trojan war it will appear that Thetis was a
faithful mother to him, aiding him in all difficulties, and
watching over his interests from the first to the last.


Ino, the daughter of Cadmus and wife of Athamas, flying from her
frantic husband, with her little son Melicertes in her arms,
sprang from a cliff into the sea.  The gods, out of compassion,
made her a goddess of the sea, under the name of Leucothea, and
him a god under that of Palaemon.  Both were held powerful to
save from shipwreck, and were invoked by sailors.  Palaemon was
usually represented riding on a dolphin.  The Isthmian games were
celebrated in his honor.  He was called Portumnus by the Romans,
and believed to have jurisdiction of the ports and shores.

Milton alludes to all these deities in the song at the conclusion
of Comus.

"Sabrina fair,
Listen and appear to us,
In name of great Oceanus;
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tethys' grave, majestic pace,
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
And the Carpathian wizard's hook (Proteus)
By scaly Triton's winding shell,
And old soothsaying Glaucus; spell,
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
And her son who rules the strands,
By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet,
And the songs of Sirens sweet."

Armstrong, the poet of the Art of preserving Health, under the
inspiration of Hygeia, the goddess of health, thus celebrates the
Naiads.  Paeon is a name both of Apollo and Aesculapius.

"Come, ye Naiads!  To the fountains lead!
Propitious maids!  The task remains to sing
Your gifts (so Paeon, so the powers of health
Command), to praise your crystal element.
Oh, comfortable streams!  With eager lips
And trembling hands the languid thirsty quaff
New life in you; fresh vigor fills their veins.
No warmer cups the rural ages knew,
None warmer sought the sires of humankind;
Happy in temperate peace their equal days
Felt not the alternate fits of feverish mirth
And sick dejection; still serene and pleased,
Blessed with divine immunity from ills,
Long centuries they lived; their only fate
Was ripe old age, and rather sleep than death."


By this name the Latins designated the Muses, but included under
it also some other deities, principally nymphs of fountains.
Egeria was one of them, whose fountain and grotto are still
shown.  It was said that Numa, the second king of Rome, was
favored by this nymph with secret interviews, in which she taught
him those lessons of wisdom and of law which he embodied in the
institutions of his rising nation.  After the death of Numa the
nymph pined away and was changed into a fountain.

Byron, in Childe Harold, Canto IV., thus alludes to Egeria and
her grotto:

"Here didst thou dwell in this enchanted cover,
Egeria!  All thy heavenly bosom beating
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover;
The purple midnight veiled that mystic meeting
With her most starry canopy."

Tennyson, also, in his Palace of Art, gives us a glimpse of the
royal lover expecting the interview.

"Holding one hand against his ear,
To list a footfall ere he saw
The wood-nymph, stayed the Tuscan king to hear
Of wisdom and of law."


When so many less active agencies were personified, it is not to
be supposed that the winds failed to be so.  They were Boreas or
Aquilo, the north wind, Zephyrus or Favonius, the west, Notus or
Auster, the south, and Eurus, the east.  The first two have been
chiefly celebrated by the poets, the former as the type of
rudeness, the latter of gentleness.  Boreas loved the nymph
Orithyia, and tried to play the lover's part, but met with poor
success.  It was hard for him to breathe gently, and sighing was
out of the question.  Weary at last of fruitless endeavors, he
acted out his true character, seized the maiden and carried her
off.  Their children were Zetes and Calais, winged warriors, who
accompanied the Argonautic expedition, and did good service in an
encounter with those monstrous birds the Harpies.

Zephyrus was the lover of Flora.  Milton alludes to them in
Paradise Lost, where he describes Adam waking and contemplating
Eve still asleep:

"He on his side
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamored, and beheld
Beauty which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice,
Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus, 'Awake!
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight.'"

Dr. Young, the poet of the Night Thoughts, addressing the idle
and luxurious, says:

"Ye delicate!  Who nothing can support
(Yourselves most insupportable), for whom
The winter rose must blow, . .
. . . .  And silky soft
Favonious breathe still softer or be chid!"

Fortuna is the Latin name for Tyche, the goddess of Fortune.  The
worship of Fortuna held a position of much higher importance at
Rome than did the worship of Tyche among the Greeks.  She was
regarded at Rome as the goddess of good fortune only, and was
usually represented holding the cornucopia.

Victoria, the Latin form for the goddess Nike, was highly honored
among the conquest-loving Romans, and many temples were dedicated
to her at Rome.  There was a celebrated temple at Athens to the
Greek goddess Nike Apteros, or Wingless Victory, of which remains
still exist.

Chapter XVI
Achelous and Hercules.   Admetus and Alcestis.   Antigone.

The river-god Achelous told the story of Erisichthon to Theseus
and his companions, whom he was entertaining at his hospitable
board, while they were delayed on their journey by the overflow
of his waters.  Having finished his story, he added, "But why
should I tell of other persons' transformations, when I myself am
an instance of the possession of this power.  Sometimes I become
a serpent, and sometimes a bull, with horns on my head.  Or I
should say, I once could do so; but now I have but one horn,
having lost one."  And here he groaned and was silent.

Theseus asked him the cause of his grief, and how he lost his
horn.  To which question the river-god replied as follows: "Who
likes to tell of his defeats?  Yet I will not hesitate to relate
mine, comforting myself with the thought of the greatness of my
conqueror, for it was Hercules.  Perhaps you have heard of the
fame of Dejanira, the fairest of maidens, whom a host of suitors
strove to win.  Hercules and myself were of the number, and the
rest yielded to us two.  He urged in his behalf his descent from
Jove, and his labors by which he had exceeded the exactions of
Juno, his step-mother.  I, on the other hand, said to the father
of the maiden, 'Behold me, the king of the waters that flow
through your land.  I am no stranger from a foreign shore, but
belong to the country, a part of your realm.  Let it not stand in
my way that royal Juno owes me no enmity, nor punishes me with
heavy tasks.  As for this man, who boasts himself the son of
Jove, it is either a false pretence, or disgraceful to him if
true, for it cannot be true except by his mother's shame.'  As I
said this Hercules scowled upon me, and with difficulty
restrained his rage.  'My hand will answer better than my
tongue,' said he.  'I yield you the victory in words, but trust
my cause to the strife of deeds.  With that he advanced towards
me, and I was ashamed, after what I had said, to yield.  I threw
off my green vesture, and presented myself for the struggle.  He
tried to throw me, now attacking my head, now my body.  My bulk
was my protection, and he assailed me in vain.  For a time we
stopped, then returned to the conflict.  We each kept our
position, determined not to yield, foot to foot, I bending over
him, clinching his hands in mine, with my forehead almost
touching his.  Thrice Hercules tried to throw me off, and the
fourth time he succeeded, brought me to the ground and himself
upon my back.  I tell you the truth, it was as if a mountain had
fallen on me.  I struggled to get my arms at liberty, panting and
reeking with perspiration.  He gave me no chance to recover, but
seized my throat.  My knees were on the earth and my mouth in the

"Finding that I was no match for him in the warrior's art, I
resorted to others, and glided away in the form of a serpent.  I
curled my body in a coil, and hissed at him with my forked
tongue.  He smiled scornfully at this, and said, 'It was the
labor of my infancy to conquer snakes.'  So saying he clasped my
neck with his hands.  I was almost choked, and struggled to get
my neck out of his grasp.  Vanquished in this form, I tried what
alone remained to me, and assumed the form of a bull.  He grasped
my neck with his arm, and, dragging my head down to the ground,
overthrew me on the sand.  Nor was this enough.  His ruthless
hand rent my horn from my head.  The Naiades took it, consecrated
it, and filled it with fragrant flowers.  Plenty adopted my horn,
and made it her own, and called it Cornucopia.

The ancients were fond of finding a hidden meaning in their
mythological tales.  They explain this fight of Achelous with
Hercules by saying Achelous was a river that in seasons of rain
overflowed its banks.  When the fable says that Achelous loved
Dejanira, and sought a union with her, the meaning is, that the
river in its windings flowed through part of Dejanira's kingdom.
It was said to take the form of a snake because of its winding,
and of a bull because it made a brawling or roaring in its
course.  When the river swelled, it made itself another channel.
Thus its head was horned.  Hercules prevented the return of these
periodical overflows, by embankments and canals; and therefore he
was said to have vanquished the river-god and cut off his horn.
Finally, the lands formerly subject to overflow, but now
redeemed, became very fertile, and this is meant by the horn of

There is another account of the origin of the Cornucopia.
Jupiter at his birth was committed by his mother Rhea to the care
of the daughters of Melisseus, a Cretan king.  They fed the
infant deity with the milk of the goat Amalthea.  Jupiter broke
off one of the horns of the goat and gave it to his nurses, and
endowed it with the wonderful power of becoming filled with
whatever the possessor might wish.

The name of Amalthea is also given by some writers to the mother
of Bacchus.  It is thus used by Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV.:

"That Nyseian isle,
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call, and Libyan Jove,
Hid Amalthea and her florid son,
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye."


Aesculapius, the son of Apollo, was endowed by his father with
such skill in the healing art that he even restored the dead to
life.  At this Pluto took alarm, and prevailed on Jupiter to
launch a thunderbolt at Aesculapius.  Apollo was indignant at the
destruction of his son, and wreaked his vengeance on the innocent
workmen who had made the thunderbolt.  These were the Cyclopes,
who have their workshop under Mount Aetna, from which the smoke
and flames of their furnaces are constantly issuing.  Apollo shot
his arrows at the Cyclopes, which so incensed Jupiter that he
condemned him as a punishment to become he servant of a mortal
for the space of one year.  Accordingly Apollo went into the
service of Admetus, king of Thessaly, and pastured his flocks for
him on the verdant banks of the river Amphrysus.

Admetus was a suitor, with others, for the hand of Alcestis, the
daughter of Pelias, who promised her to him who should come for
her in a chariot drawn by lions and boars.  This task Admetus
performed by the assistance of his divine herdsman, and was made
happy in the possession of Alcestis.  But Admetus fell ill, and
being near to death, Apollo prevailed on the Fates to spare him
on condition that some one would consent to die in his stead.
Admetus, in his joy at this reprieve, thought little of the
ransom, and perhaps remembering the declarations of attachment
which he had often heard from his courtiers and dependents,
fancied that it would be easy to find a substitute.  But it was
not so.  Brave warriors, who would willingly have perilled their
lives for their prince, shrunk from the thought of dying for him
on the bed of sickness; and old servants who had experienced his
bounty and that of his house from their childhood up, were not
willing to lay down the scanty remnant of their days to show
their gratitude.  Men asked,   "Why does not one of his parents
do it?  They cannot in the course of nature live much longer, and
who can feel like them the call to rescue the life they gave from
an untimely end?"  But the parents, distressed though they were
at the thought of losing him, shrunk from the call.  Then
Alcestis, with a generous self-devotion, proffered herself as the
substitute.  Admetus, fond as he was of life, would not have
submitted to receive it at such a cost; but there was no remedy.
The condition imposed by the Fates had been met, and the decree
was irrevocable.  Alcestis sickened as Admetus revived, and she
was rapidly sinking to the grave.

Just at this time Hercules arrived at the palace of Admetus, and
found all the inmates in great distress for the impending loss of
the devoted wife and beloved mistress.  Hercules, to whom no
labor was too arduous, resolved to attempt her rescue.  He went
and lay in wait at the door of the chamber of the dying queen,
and when Death came for his prey, he seized him and forced him to
resign his victim.  Alcestis recovered, and was restored to her

Milton alludes to the story of Alcestis in his Sonnet on his
deceased wife.

"Methought I saw my late espoused saint,
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint."

James Russell Lowell has chosen the "Shepherd of King Admetus"
for the subject of a short poem.  He makes that event the first
introduction of poetry to men.

"Men called him but a shiftless youth,
In whom no good they saw,
And yet unwittingly, in truth,
They made his careless words their law.
And day by day more holy grew
Each spot where he had trod,
Till after poets only knew
Their first-born brother was a god."

In The Love of Alcestis, one of the poems in The Earthly
Paradise, Mr. Morris thus tells the story of the taming of the

"----- Rising up no more delay he made,
But took the staff and gained the palace-door
Where stood the beasts, whose mingled whine and roar
Had wrought his dream; there two and two they stood,
Thinking, it might be, of the tangled wood,
And all the joys of the food-hiding trees.
But harmless as their painted images
'Neath some dread spell; then, leaping up, he took
The reins in hand and the bossed leather shook,
And no delay the conquered beasts durst make,
But drew, not silent; and folk just awake,
When he went by as though a god they saw,
Fell on their knees, and maidens come to draw
Fresh water from the fount, sank trembling down,
And silence held the babbling, wakened town."


The poems and histories of legendary Greece often relate, as has
been seen, to women and their lives.  Antigone was as bright an
example of filial and sisterly fidelity as was Alcestis of
connubial devotion.  She was the daughter of OEdipus and Jocasta,
who, with all their descendants, were the victims of an
unrelenting fate, dooming them to destruction.  OEdipus in his
madness had torn out his eyes, and was driven forth from his
kingdom Thebes, dreaded and abandoned by all men, as an object of
divine vengeance.  Antigone, his daughter, alone shared his
wanderings, and remained with him till he died, and then returned
to Thebes.

Her brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, had agreed to share the
kingdom between them, and reign alternately year by year.  The
first year fell to the lot of Eteocles, who, when his time
expired, refused to surrender the kingdom to his brother.
Polynices fled to Adrastus, king of Argos, who gave him his
daughter in marriage, and aided him with an army to enforce his
claim to the kingdom.  This led to the celebrated expedition of
the "Seven against Thebes," which furnished ample materials for
the epic and tragic poets of Greece.

Amphiaraus, the brother-in-law of Adrastus, opposed the
enterprise, for he was a soothsayer, and knew by his art that no
one of the leaders except Adrastus would live to return.  But
Amphiaraus, on his marriage to Eriphyle, the king's sister, had
agreed that whenever he and Adrastus should differ in opinion,
the decision should be left to Eriphyle.  Polynices, knowing
this, gave Eriphyle the collar of Harmonia, and thereby gained
her to his interest.  This collar or necklace was a present which
Vulcan had given to Harmonia on her marriage with Cadmus, and
Polynices had taken it with him on his flight from Thebes.
Eriphyle could not resist so tempting a bribe, and by her
decision the war was resolved on, and Amphiaraus went to his
certain fate.  He bore his part bravely in the contest, but could
not avert his destiny.  Pursued by the enemy he fled along the
river, when a thunderbolt launched by Jupiter opened the ground,
and he, his chariot, and his charioteer, were swallowed up.

It would not be in place here to detail all the acts of heroism
or atrocity which marked the contest; but we must not omit to
record the fidelity of Evadne as an offset to the weakness of
Eriphyle.  Capaneus, the husband of Evadne, in the ardor of the
fight, declared that he would force his way into the city in
spite of Jove himself.  Placing a ladder against the wall, he
mounted, but Jupiter, offended at his impious language, struck
him with a thunderbolt.  When his obsequies were celebrated,
Evadne cast herself on his funeral pile and perished.

Early in the contest Eteocles consulted the soothsayer Tiresias
as to the issue.  Tiresias, in his youth, had by chance seen
Minerva bathing.  The goddess in her wrath deprived him of his
sight, but afterwards relenting gave him in compensation the
knowledge of future events.  When consulted by Eteocles, he
declared that victory should fall to Thebes if Menoeceus, the son
of Creon, gave himself a voluntary victim.  The heroic youth,
learning the response, threw away his life in the first

The siege continued long, with various success.  At length both
hosts agreed that the brothers should decide their quarrel by
single combat.  They fought and fell by each other's hands.  The
armies then renewed the fight, and at last the invaders were
forced to yield, and fled, leaving their dead unburied.  Creon,
the uncle of the fallen princes, now become king, caused Eteocles
to be buried with distinguished honor, but suffered the body of
Polynices to lie where it fell, forbidding every one, on pain of
death, to give it burial.

Antigone, the sister of Polynices, heard with indignation the
revolting edict which consigned her brother's body to the dogs
and vultures, depriving it of those rites which were considered
essential to the repose of the dead.  Unmoved by the dissuading
counsel of an affectionate but timid sister, and unable to
procure assistance, she determined to brave the hazard and to
bury the body with her own hands.  She was detected in the act,
and Creon gave orders that she should be buried alive, as having
deliberately set at nought the solemn edict of the city.  Her
love, Haemon, the son of Creon, unable to avert her fate, would
not survive her, and fell by his own hand.

Antigone forms the subject of two fine tragedies of the Grecian
poet Sophocles.  Mrs. Jameson, in her Characteristics of Women,
has compared her character with that of Cordelia, in
Shakespeare's King Lear.  The perusal of her remarks cannot fail
to gratify our readers.

The following is the lamentation of Antigone over OEdipus, when
death has at last relieved him from his sufferings:

"Alas!  I only wished I might have died
With my poor father; wherefore should I ask
For longer life?
Oh, I was fond of misery with him;
E'en what was most unlovely grew beloved
When he was with me.  Oh, my dearest father,
Beneath the earth now in deep darkness hid,
Worn as thou wert with age, to me thou still
Wast dear, and shalt be ever."
Francklin's Sophocles


Penelope is another of those mythic heroines whose beauties were
rather those of character and conduct than of person.  She was
the daughter of Icarius, a Spartan prince.  Ulysses, king of
Ithaca, sought her in marriage, and won her over all competitors.
When the moment came for the bride to leave her father's house,
Icarius, unable to bear the thoughts of parting with his
daughter, tried to persuade her to remain with him, and not
accompany her husband to Ithaca.  Ulysses gave Penelope her
choice, to stay or go with him.   Penelope made no reply, but
dropped her veil over her face.  Icarius urged her no further,
but when she was gone erected a statue to Modesty on the spot
where they parted.

Ulysses and Penelope had not enjoyed their union more than a year
when it was interrupted by the events which called Ulysses to the
Trojan war.  During his long absence, and when it was doubtful
whether he still lived, and highly improbable that he would ever
return, Penelope was importuned by numerous suitors, from whom
there seemed no refuge but in choosing one of them for her
husband.  Penelope, however, employed every art to gain time,
still hopping for Ulysses' return.  One of her arts of delay was
engaging in the preparation of a robe for the funeral canopy of
Laertes, her husband's father.  She pledged herself to make her
choice among the suitors when the robe was finished.  During the
day she worked at the robe, but in the night she undid the work
of the day.  This is the famous Penelope's web, which is used as
a proverbial expression for anything which is perpetually doing
but never done.  The rest of Penelope's history will be told when
we give an account of her husband's adventures.

Chapter XVII
Orpheus and Eurydice.   Artistaeus.   Amphion.   Linus.
Thamyris.   Marsyas.   Melampus.   Musaeus

Orpheus was the son of Apollo and the muse Calliope.  He was
presented by his father with a lyre and taught to play upon it,
and he played to such perfection that nothing could withstand the
charm of his music.  Not only his fellow mortals, but wild beasts
were softened by his strains, and gathering round him laid by
their fierceness, and stood entranced with his lay.  Nay, the
very trees and rocks were sensible to the charm.  The former
crowded round him and the latter relaxed somewhat of their
hardness, softened by his notes.

Hymen had been called to bless with his presence the nuptials of
Orpheus with Eurydice; but though he attended, he brought no
happy omens with him.  His very torch smoked and brought tears
into their eyes.  In coincidence with such prognostics Eurydice,
shortly after her marriage, while wandering with the nymphs, her
companions, was seen by the shepherd Aristaeus, who was struck
with her beauty, and made advances to her.  She fled, and in
flying trod upon a snake in the grass, was bitten in the foot and
died.  Orpheus sang his grief to all who breathed the upper air,
both gods and men, and finding it all unavailing resolved to seek
his wife in the regions of the dead.  He descended by a cave
situated on the side of the promontory of Taenarus and arrived at
the Stygian realm.  He passed through crowds of ghosts, and
presented himself before the throne of Pluto and Proserpine.
Accompanying the words with the lyre, he sung, "O deities of the
underworld, to whom all we who live must come, hear my words, for
they are true!  I come not to spy out the secrets of Tartarus,
nor to try my strength against the three-headed dog with snaky
hair who guards the entrance.  I come to seek my wife, whose
opening years the poisonous viper's fang has brought to an
untimely end.  Love had led me here, Love, a god all powerful
with us who dwell on the earth, and, if old traditions say true,
not less so here.  I implore you by these abodes full of terror,
these realms of silence and uncreated things, unite again the
thread of Eurydice's life.  We all are destined to you, and
sooner or later must pass to your domain.  She too, when she
shall have filled her term of life, will rightly be yours. But
till then grant her to me, I beseech you.  If you deny me, I
cannot return alone; you shall triumph in the death of us both."

As he sang these tender strains, the very ghosts shed tears.
Tantalus, in spite of his thirst, stopped for a moment his
efforts for water, Ixion's wheel stood still, the vulture ceased
to tear the giant's liver, the daughters of Danaus rested from
their task of drawing water in a sieve, and Sisyphus sat on his
rock to listen.  Then for the first time, it is said, the cheeks
of the Furies were wet with tears.  Proserpine could not resist,
and Pluto himself gave way.  Eurydice was called.  She came from
among the new-arrived ghosts, limping with her wounded foot.
Orpheus was permitted to take her away with him on one condition,
that he should not turn round to look at her till they should
have reached the upper air.  Under this condition they proceeded
on their way, he leading, she following, through passages dark
and steep, in total silence, till they had nearly reached the
outlet into the cheerful upper world, when Orpheus, in a moment
of forgetfulness, to assure himself that she was still following,
cast a glance behind him, when instantly she was borne away.
Stretching out their arms to embrace one another they grasped
only the air.  Dying now a second time she yet cannot reproach
her husband, for how can she blame his impatience to behold her?
"Farewell," she said, "a last farewell,"   and was hurried away,
so fast that the sound hardly reached his ears.

Orpheus endeavored to follow her, and besought permission to
return and try once more for her release but the stern ferryman
repulsed him and refused passage.  Seven days he lingered about
the brink, without food or sleep; then bitterly accusing of
cruelty the powers of Erebus, he sang his complaints to the rocks
and mountains, melting the hearts of tigers and moving the oaks
from their stations.  He held himself aloof from womankind,
dwelling constantly on the recollection of his sad mischance.
The Thracian maidens tried their best to captivate him, but he
repulsed their advances.   They bore with him as long as they
could; but finding him insensible, one day, one of them, excited
by the rites of Bacchus, exclaimed, "See yonder our despiser!"
and threw at him her javelin.  The weapon, as soon as it came
within the sound of his lyre, fell harmless at his feet.  So did
also the stones that they threw at him.  But the women raised a
scream and drowned the voice of the music, and then the missiles
reached him and soon were stained with his blood.  The maniacs
tore him limb from limb, and threw his head and his lyre into the
river Hebrus, down which they floated, murmuring sad music, to
which the shores responded a plaintive symphony.  The Muses
gathered up the fragments of his body and buried them at
Libethra, where the nightingale is said to sing over his grave
more sweetly than in any other part of Greece.  His lyre was
placed by Jupiter among the stars.  His shade passed a second
time to Tartarus, where he sought out his Eurydice and embraced
her, with eager arms.  They roam through those happy fields
together now, sometimes he leads, sometimes she; and Orpheus
gazes as much as he will upon her, no longer incurring a penalty
for a thoughtless glance.

The story of Orpheus has furnished Pope with an illustration of
the power of music, for his Ode for St. Cecelia's Day.  The
following stanza relates the conclusion of the story:

"But soon, too soon the lover turns his eyes;
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,
All alone,
He makes his moan,
And calls her ghost,
Forever, ever, ever lost!
Now with furies surrounded,
Despairing, confounded,
He trembles, he glows,
Amidst Rhodope's snows.
See, wild as the winds o'er the desert he flies;
Hark!  Haemus resounds with the Bacchanals' cries.
Ah, see, he dies!
Yet even in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue;
Eurydice the woods,
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks and hollow mountains rung."

The superior melody of the nightingale's song over the grave of
Orpheus, is alluded to by Southey in his Thalaba:

"Then on his ear what sounds
Of harmony arose!
Far music and the distance-mellowed song
>From bowers of merriment;
The waterfall remote;
The murmuring of the leafy groves;
The single nightingale
Perched in the rosier by, so richly toned,
That never from that most melodious bird
Singing a love-song to his brooding mate,
Did Thracian shepherd by the grave
Of Orpheus hear a sweeter melody,
Though there the spirit of the sepulchre
All his own power infuse, to swell
The incense that he loves."


Man avails himself of the instincts of the inferior animals for
his own advantage.  Hence sprang the art of keeping bees.  Honey
must first have been known as a wild product, the bees building
their structures in hollow trees or holes in the rocks, or any
similar cavity that chance offered.  Thus occasionally the
carcass of a dead animal would be occupied by the bees for that
purpose.  It was no doubt from some such incident that the
superstition arose that the bees were engendered by the decaying
flesh of the animal; and Virgil, in the following story (From the
Georgies, Book IV.1.317), shows how this supposed fact may be
turned to account for renewing the swarm when it has been lost by
disease or accident.

The shepherd Aristaeus, who first taught the management of bees,
was the son of the water-nymph Cyrene.  His bees had perished,
and he resorted for aid to his mother.  He stood at the river
side and thus addressed her: "Oh, mother, the pride of my life is
taken from me!  I have lost my precious bees.  My care and skill
have availed me nothing, and you, my mother, have not warded off
from me the blow of misfortune."  His mother heard these
complaints as she sat in her palace at the bottom of the river
with her attendant nymphs around her.  They were engaged in
female occupations, spinning and weaving, while one told stories
to amuse the rest.  The sad voice of Aristaeus interrupting their
occupation, one of them put her head above the water and seeing
him, returned and gave information to his mother, who ordered
that he should be brought into her presence.  The river at her
command opened itself and let him pass in, while it stood curled
like a mountain on either side.  He descended to the region where
the fountains of the great rivers lie; he saw the enormous
receptacles of waters and was almost deafened with the roar,
while he surveyed them hurrying off in various directions to
water the face of the earth.  Arriving at his mother's apartment
he was hospitably received by Cyrene and her nymphs, who spread
their table with the richest dainties.  They first poured out
libations to Neptune, then regaled themselves with the feast, and
after that Cyrene thus addressed him: "There is an old prophet
named Proteus, who dwells in the sea and is a favorite of
Neptune, whose herd of sea-calves he pastures.  We nymphs hold
him in great respect, for he is a learned sage, and knows all
things, past, present, and to come.  He can tell you, my son, the
cause of the mortality among your bees, and how you may remedy
it.  But he will not do it voluntarily, however you may entreat
him.  You must compel him by force.  If you seize him and chain
him, he will answer your questions in order to get released, for
he cannot, by all his arts, get away if you hold fast the chains.
I will carry you to his cave, where he comes at noon to take his
midday repose.  Then you may easily secure him.  But when he
finds himself captured, his resort is to a power he possesses of
changing himself into various forms.  He will become a wild boar
or a fierce tiger, a scaly dragon, or lion with yellow mane.  Or
he will make a noise like the crackling of flames or the rush of
water, so as to tempt you to let go the chain, when he will make
his escape.  But you have only to keep him fast bound, and at
last when he finds all his arts unavailing, he will return to his
own figure and obey your commands."  So saying she sprinkled her
son with fragrant nectar, the beverage of the gods, and
immediately an unusual vigor filled his frame and courage his
heart, while perfume breathed all around him.

The nymph led her son to the prophet's cave, and concealed him
among the recesses of the rocks, while she herself took her place
behind the clouds.  Then noon came and the hour when men and
herds retreat from the glaring sun to indulge in quiet slumber,
Proteus issued from the water, followed hy his herd of sea-
calves, which spread themselves along the shore.  He sat on the
rock and counted his herd; then stretched himself on the floor of
the cave and went to sleep.   Aristaeus hardly allowed him to get
fairly asleep before he fixed the fetters on him and shouted
aloud.  Proteus, waking and finding himself captured, immediately
resorted to his arts, becoming first a fire, then a flood, then a
horrible wild beast, in rapid succession.  But trying all in
vain, he at last resumed his own form and addressed the youth in
angry accents: "Who are you, bold youth, who thus invade my
abode, and what do you want with me?"  Aristaeus replied,
"Proteus, you know already, for it is needless for any one to
attempt to deceive you.  And do you also cease your efforts to
elude me.  I am led hither by divine assistance, to know from you
the cause of my misfortune and how to remedy it."  At these words
the prophet, fixing on him his gray eyes with a piercing look,
thus spoke: "You received the merited reward of your deeds, by
which Eurydice met her death, for in flying from you she trod
upon a serpent, of whose bite she died.  To avenge her death the
nymphs, her companions, have sent this destruction bo your bees.
You have to appease their anger, and thus it must be done: Select
four bulls of perfect form and size, and four cows of equal
beauty, build four altars to the nymphs, and sacrifice the
animals, leaving their carcasses in the leafy grove.  To Orpheus
and Eurydice you shall pay such funeral honors as may allay their
resentment.  Returning after nine days you will examine the
bodies of the cattle slain and see what will befall."  Aristaeus
faithfully obeyed these directions.  He sacrificed the cattle, he
left their bodies in the grove, he offered funeral honors to the
shades of Orpheus and Eurydice; then returning on the ninth day
he examined the bodies of the animals, and, wonderful to relate!
A swarm of bees had taken possession of one of the carcasses, and
were pursuing their labors there as in a hive.

In the Task, Cowper alludes to the story of Aristaeus, when
speaking of the ice-palace built by the Empress Anne of Russia.
He has been describing the fantastic forms which ice assumes in
connection with waterfalls, etc."

"Less worthy of applause though more admired,
Because a novelty, the work of man,
Imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ,
Thy most magnificent and mighty freak,
The wonder of the north.  No forest fell
When thou wouldst build, no quarry sent its stores
T'enrich thy walls; but thou didst hew the floods
And make thy marble of the glassy wave.
In such a palace Aristaeus found
Cyrene, when he bore the plaintive tale
Of his lost bees to her maternal ear."

Milton also appears to have had Cyrene and her domestic scene in
his mind when he describes to us Sabrina, the nymph of the river
Severn, in the Guardian-spirit's Song in Comus:

"Sabrina fair!
Listen when thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
Listen for dear honor's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake!
Listen and save."

The following are other celebrated mythical poets and musicians,
some of whom were hardly inferior to Orpheus himself:


Amphion was the son of Jupiter and Antiope, queen of Thebes.
With his twin brother Zethus he was exposed at birth on Mount
Cithaeron, where they grew up among the shepherds, not knowing
their parentage.  Mercury gave Amphion a lyre, and taught him to
play upon it, and his brother occupied himself in hunting and
tending the flocks.  Meanwhile Antiope, their mother, who had
been treated with great cruelty by Lycus, the usurping king of
Thebes, and by Dirce, his wife, found means to inform her
children of their rights, and to summon them to her assistance.
With a band of their fellow-herdsmen they attacked and slew
Lycus, and tying Dirce by the hair of her head to a bull, let him
drag her till she was dead (the punishment of Dirce is the
subject of a celebrated group of statuary now in the Museum at
Naples).  Amphion, having become king of Thebes fortified the
city with a wall.  It is said that when he played on his lyre the
stones moved of their own accord and took their places in the

In Tennyson's poem of Amphion is an amusing use of this story:

"Oh, had I lived when song was great,
In days of old Amphion,
And ta'en my fiddle to the gate
Nor feared for reed or scion!

And had I lived when song was great,
And legs of trees were limber,
And ta'en my fiddle to the gate,
And fiddled to the timber!

"'Tis said he had a tuneful tongue,
Such happy intonation,
Wherever he sat down and sung
He left a small plantation;
Whenever in a lonely grove
He set up his forlorn pipes,
The gouty oak began to move
And flounder into hornpipes."


Linus was the instructor of Hercules in music, but having one day
reproved his pupil rather harshly, he roused the anger of
Hercules, who struck him with his lyre and killed him.


An ancient Thracian bard, who in his presumption challenged the
Muses to a trial of skill, and being overcome in the contest was
deprived by them of his sight.  Milton alludes to him with other
blind bards, when speaking of his own blindness (Paradise Lost,
Book III.35).


Minerva invented the flute, and played upon it to the delight of
all the celestial auditors; but the mischievous urchin Cupid
having dared to laugh at the queer face which the goddess made
while playing, Minerva threw the instrument indignantly away, and
it fell down to earth, and was found by Marsyas.  He blew upon
it, and drew from it such ravishing sounds that he was tempted to
challenge Apollo himself to a musical contest.  The god of course
triumphed, and punished Marsyas by flaying him alive.


Melampus was the first mortal endowed with prophetic powers.
Before his house there stood an oak tree containing a serpent's
nest.  The old serpents were killed by the servants, but Melampus
took care of the young ones and fed them carefully.  One day when
he was asleep under the oak, the serpents licked his ears with
their tongues.  On awaking he was astonished to find that he now
understood the language of birds and creeping things.  This
knowledge enabled him to foretell future events, and he became a
renowned soothsayer.  At one time his enemies took him captive
and kept him strictly imprisoned.  Melampus in the silence of
night heard the wood-worms in the timbers talking together, and
found out by what they said that the timbers were nearly eaten
through, and the roof would soon fall in.  He told his captors
and demanded to be let out, warning them also.  They took his
warning, and thus escaped destruction, and rewarded Malampus and
held him in high honor.


A semi-mythological personage who was represented by one
tradition to be the son of Orpheus.  He is said to have written
sacred poems and oracles.  Milton couples his name with that of
Orpheus in his Il Penseroso:

"But, oh, sad virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musaeus from his bower,
Or bed the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what love did seek."

Chapter XVIII
Arion.   Ibycus.   Simonides.   Sappho

The poets whose adventures compose this chapter were real
persons, some of whose works yet remain, and their influence on
poets who succeeded them is yet more important than their
poetical remains. The adventures recorded of them in the
following stories rest on the same authority as other narratives
of the Age of Fable, that is, that of the poets who have told
them.  In their present form, the first two are translated from
the German, the story of Arion from Schlegel, and that of Ibycus
from Schiller.


Arion was a famous musician, and dwelt at the court of Periander,
king of Corinth, with whom he was a great favorite.  There was to
be a musical contest in Sicily, and Arion longed to compete for
the prize.  He told his wish to Periander, who besought him like
a brother to give up the thought.  "Pray stay with me," he said,
"and be contented.  He who strives to win may lose."  Arion
answered, "A wandering life best suits the free heart of a poet.
The talent which a god bestowed on me, I would fain make a source
of pleasure to others.  And if I win the prize, how will the
enjoyment of it be increased by the consciousness of my wide-
spread fame!"  He went, won the prize, and embarked with his
wealth in a Corinthian ship for home.  On the second morning
after setting sail, the wind breathed mild and fair.  "Oh,
Periander," he exclaimed, "dismiss your fears!  Soon shall you
forget them in my embrace.  With what lavish offerings will we
display our gratitude to the gods, and how merry will we be at
the festal board!"  The wind and sea continued propitious.  Not a
cloud dimmed the firmament.  He had not trusted too much to the
ocean,   but he had to man.  He overheard the seamen exchanging
hints with one another, and found they were plotting to possess
themselves of his treasure.  Presently they surrounded him loud
and mutinous, and said, "Arion, you must die!  If you would have
a grave on shore, yield yourself to die on this spot; but if
otherwise, cast yourself into the sea."  "Will nothing satisfy
you but my life?" said he.  "Take my gold, and welcome.  I
willingly buy my life at that price."  "No, no; we cannot spare
you.  Your life will be too dangerous to us.  Where could we go
to escape from Periander, if he should know that you had been
robbed by us?  Your gold would be of little use to us, if, on
returning home, we could never more be free from fear." "Grant
me, then," said he, "a last request, since nought will avail to
save my life, that I may die as I have lived, as becomes a bard.
When I shall have sung my death-song, and my harp-strings shall
cease to vibrate, then I will bid farewell to life, and yield
uncomplaining to my fate."  This prayer, like the others, would
have been unheeded,   they thought only of their booty,   but to
hear so famous a musician, that moved their rude hearts.  "Suffer
me," he added, "to arrange my dress.  Apollo will not favor me
unless I be clad in my minstrel garb."

He clothed his well-proportioned limbs in gold and purple fair to
see, his tunic fell around him in graceful folds, jewels adorned
his arms, his brow was crowned with a golden wreath, and over his
neck and shoulders flowed his hair perfumed with odors.  His left
hand held the lyre, his right the ivory wand with which he struck
its chords.  Like one inspired, he seemed to drink the morning
air and glitter in the morning ray.  The seamen gazed with
admiration.  He strode forward to the vessel's side and looked
down into the blue sea.  Addressing his lyre, he sang, "Companion
of my voice, come with me to the realm of shades.  Though
Cerberus may growl, we know the power of song can tame his rage.
Ye heroes of Elysium, who have passed the darkling flood,   ye
happy souls, soon shall I join your band.  Yet can ye relieve my
grief?  Alas, I leave my friend behind me.  Thou, who didst find
thy Eurydice, and lose her again as soon as found; when she had
vanished like a dream, how didst thou hate the cheerful light!  I
must away, but I will not fear.  The gods look down upon us.  Ye
who slay me unoffending, when I am no more, your time of
trembling shall come.  Ye Nereids, receive your guest, who throws
himself upon your mercy!"  So saying, he sprang into the deep
sea.  The waves covered him, and the seamen held on their way,
fancying themselves safe from all danger of detection.

But the strains of his music had drawn round him the inhabitants
of the deep to listen, and dolphins followed the ship as if
chained by a spell.  While he struggled in the waves, a dolphin
offered him his back, and carried him mounted thereon safe to
shore.  At the spot where he landed, a monument of brass was
afterwards erected upon the rocky shore, to preserve the memory
of the event.

When Arion and the dolphin parted, each to his own element, Arion
thus poured forth his thanks.  "Farewell, thou faithful, friendly
fish!  Would that I could reward thee; but thou canst not wend
with me, nor I with thee.  Companionship we may not have.  May
Galatea, queen of the deep, accord thee her favor, and thou,
proud of the burden, draw her chariot over the smooth mirror of
the deep."

Arion hastened from the shore, and soon saw before him the towers
of Corinth.  He journeyed on, harp in hand, singing as he went,
full of love and happiness, forgetting his losses, and mindful
only of what remained, his friend and his lyre.  He entered the
hospitable halls, and was soon clasped in the embrace of
Periander.  "I come back to thee, my friend," he said.  "The
talent which a god bestowed has been the delight of thousands,
but false knaves have stripped me of my well-earned treasure; yet
I retain the consciousness of wide-spread fame."  Then he told
Periander all the wonderful events that had befallen him, who
heard him with amazement.  "Shall such wickedness triumph?" said
he.  "Then in vain is power lodged in my hands.  That we may
discover the criminals, you must remain here in concealment, and
so they will approach without suspicion."  When the ship arrived
in the harbor, he summoned the mariners before him.  "Have you
heard anything of Arion?" he inquired.  "I anxiously look for his
return." They replied, "We left him well and prosperous in
Tarentum."  As they said these words, Arion stepped forth and
faced them.  His well proportioned limbs were arrayed in gold and
purple fair to see, his tunic fell around him in graceful folds,
jewels adorned his arms, his brow was crowned with a golden
wreath, and over his neck and shoulders flowed his hair perfumed
with odors; his left hand held the lyre, his right the ivory wand
with which he struck its chords.  They fell prostrate at his
feet, as if a lightning bolt had struck them.  "We meant to
murder him, and he has become a god.  O Earth, open and receive
us!"  Then Periander spoke.  "He lives, the master of the lay!
Kind Heaven protects the poet's life.  As for you, I invoke not
the spirit of vengeance; Arion wishes not your blood.  Ye slaves
of avarice, begone!  Seek some barbarous land, and never may
aught beautiful delight your souls!"

Spencer represents Arion, mounted on his dolphin, accompanying
the train of Neptune and Amphitrite:

"Then was there heard a most celestial sound
Of dainty music which did next ensue,
And, on the floating waters as enthroned,
Arion with his harp unto him drew
The ears and hearts of all that goodly crew;
Even when as yet the dolphin which him bore
Through the Aegean Seas from pirates' view,
Stood still, by him astonished at his love,
And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar."

Byron, in his Childe Harold, Canto II., alludes to the story of
Arion, when, describing his voyage, he represents one of the
seamen making music to entertain the rest:

"The moon is up; by Heaven, a lovely eve!
Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand;
Now lads on shore may sigh and maids believe;
Such be our fate when we return to land!
Meantime some rude Arion's restless hand
Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love;
A circle there of merry listeners stand,
Or to some well-known measure featly move
Thoughtless as if on shore they still were free to rove."


In order to understand the story of Ibycus which follows, it is
necessary to remember, first, that the theatres of the ancients
were immense buildings providing seats for from ten to thirty
thousand spectators, and as they were used only on festal
occasions, and admission was free to all, they were usually
filled.  They were without roofs and open to the sky, and the
performances were in the daytime.  Secondly, the appalling
representation of the Furies is not exaggerated in the story.  It
is recorded that AEschylus, the tragic poet, having on one
occasion represented the Furies in a chorus of fifty performers,
the terror of the spectators was such that many fainted and were
thrown into convulsions, and the magistrates forbade a like
representation for the future.

Ibycus, the pious poet, was on his way to the chariot races and
musical competitions held at the Isthmus of Corinth, which
attracted all of Grecian lineage.  Apollo had bestowed on him the
gift of song, the honeyed lips of the poet, and he pursued his
way with lightsome step, full of the god.  Already the towers of
Corinth crowning the height appeared in view, and he had entered
with pious awe the sacred grove of Neptune.  No living object was
in sight, only a flock of cranes flew overhead, taking the same
course as himself in their migration to a southern clime.  "Good
luck to you, ye friendly squadrons," he exclaimed, "my companions
from across the sea.  I take your company for a good omen.  We
come from far, and fly in search of hospitality.  May both of us
meet that kind reception which shields the stranger guest from

He paced briskly on, and soon was in the middle of the wood.
There suddenly, at a narrow pass, two robbers stepped forth and
barred his way.  He must yield or fight.  But his hand,
accustomed to the lyre and not to the strife of arms, sank
powerless.  He called for help on men and gods, but his cry
reached no defender's ear.  "Then here must I die," said he, "in
a strange land, unlamented, cut off by the hand of outlaws, and
see none to avenge my cause."  Sore wounded he sank to the earth,
when hoarse screamed the cranes overhead.  "Take up my cause, ye
cranes," he said, "since no voice but yours answers to my cry."
So saying, he closed his eyes in death.

The body, despoiled and mangled, was found, and though disfigured
with wounds, was recognized by the friend in Corinth who had
expected him as a guest.  "Is it thus I find you restored to me?"
he exclaimed; "I who hoped to entwine your temples with the
wreath of triumph in the strife of song!"

The guests assembled at the festival heard the tidings with
dismay.  All Greece felt the wound, every heart owned its loss.
They crowded round the tribunal of the magistrates, and demanded
vengeance on the murderers and expiation with their blood.

But what trace or mark shall point out the perpetrator from
amidst the vast multitude attracted by the splendor of the feat?
Did he fall by the hands of robbers, or did some private enemy
slay him?  The all-discerning sun alone can tell, for no other
eye beheld it.  Yet not improbably the murderer even now walks in
the midst of the throng, and enjoys the fruits of his crime,
while vengeance seeks for him in vain.  Perhaps in their own
temple's enclosure he defies the gods, mingling freely in this
throng of men that now presses into the ampitheatre.

For now crowded together, row on row, the multitude fill the
seats till it seems as if the very fabric would give way.  The
murmur of voices sounds like the roar of the sea, while the
circles widening in their ascent rise, tier on tier, as if they
would reach the sky.

And now the vast assemblage listens to the awful voice of the
chorus personating the Furies, which in solemn guise advances
with measured step, and moves around the circuit of the theatre.
Can they be mortal women who compose that awful group, and can
that vast concourse of silent forms be living beings!

The choristers, clad in black, bore in their fleshless hands
torches blazing with a pitchy flame.  Their cheeks were
bloodless, and in place of hair, writing and swelling serpents
curled around their brows.  Forming a circle, these awful beings
sang their hymn, rending the hearts of the guilty, and enchaining
all their faculties.  It rose and swelled, overpowering the sound
of the instruments, stealing the judgment, palsying the heart,
curdling the blood.

"Happy the man who keeps his heart pure from guilt and crime!
Him we avengers touch not; he treads the path of life secure from
us.  But woe!  Woe!  To him who has done the deed of secret
murder.  We, the fearful family of Night, fasten ourselves upon
his whole being.  Thinks he by flight to escape us?  We fly still
faster in pursuit, twine our snakes around his feet and bring him
to the ground.  Unwearied we pursue; no pity checks our course;
still on and on to the end of life, we give him no peace nor
rest."  Thus the Eumenides sang, and moved in solemn cadence,
while stillness like the stillness of death sat over the whole
assembly as if in the presence of superhuman beings; and then in
solemn march completing the circuit of the theatre, they passed
out at the back of the stage.

Every heart fluttered between illusion and reality, and every
breast panted with undefined terror, quailing before the awful
power that watches secret crimes and winds unseen the skein of
destiny.  At that moment a cry burst forth from one of the
uppermost benches   "Look!  Look!  Comrade, yonder are the cranes
of Ibycus!"  And suddenly there appeared sailing across the sky a
dark object which a moment's inspection showed to be a flock of
cranes flying directly over the theatre.  "Of Ibycus! did he
say?"  The beloved name revived the sorrow in every breast.  As
wave follows wave over the face of the sea, so ran from mouth to
mouth the words, "Of Ibycus!  Him whom we all lament, with some
murderer's hand laid low!  What have the cranes to do with him?"
And louder grew the swell of voices, while like a lightning's
flash the thought sped through every heart, "Observe the power of
the Eumenides!  The pious poet shall be avenged!  The murderer
has informed against himself.  Seize the man who uttered that cry
and the other to whom he spoke!"

The culprit would gladly have recalled his words, but it was too
late.  The faces of the murderers pale with terror betrayed their
guilt.  The people took them before the judge, they confessed
their crime and suffered the punishment they deserved.


Simonides was one of the most prolific of the early poets of
Greece, but only a few fragments of his compositions have
descended to us.  He wrote hymns, triumphal odes, and elegies.
In the last species of composition he particularly excelled.  His
genius was inclined to the pathetic, and none could touch with
truer effect the chords of human sympathy.  The Lamentation of
Danae, the most important of the fragments which remain of his
poetry is based upon the tradition that Danae and her infant son
were confined by order of her father Acrisius in a chest and set
adrift on the sea.  The chest floated towards the island of
Seriphus, where both were rescued by Dictys, a fisherman, and
carried to Polydectes, king of the country, who received and
protected them.  The child Perseus when grown up became a famous
hero, whose adventures have been recorded in a previous chapter.

Simonides passed much of his life at the courts of princes, and
often employed his talents in panegyric and festal odes,
receiving his reward from the munificence of those whose exploits
he celebrated.  This employment was not derogatory, but closely
resembles that of the earliest bards, such as Demodocus,
described by Homer, or of Homer himself as recorded by tradition.

On one occasion when residing at the court of Scopas, king of
Thessaly, the prince desired him to prepare a poem in celebration
of his exploits, to be recited at a banquet.  In order to
diversify his theme, Simonides, who was celebrated for his piety,
introduced into his poem the exploits of Castor and Pollux.  Such
digressions were not unusual with the poets on similar occasions,
and one might suppose an ordinary mortal might have been content
to share the praises of the sons of Leda.  But vanity is
exacting; and as Scopas sat at his festal board among his
courtiers and sycophants, he grudged every verse that did not
rehearse his own praises.  When Simonides approached to receive
the promised reward Scopas bestowed but half the expected sum,
saying, "Here is payment for my portion of the performance,
Castor and Pollux will doubtless compensate thee for so much as
relates to them."  The disconcerted poet returned to his seat
amidst the laughter which followed the great man's jest.  In a
little time he received a message that two young men on horseback
were waiting without and anxious to see him.  Simonides hastened
to the door, but looked in vain for the visitors.  Scarcely
however had he left the banqueting-hall when the roof fell in
with a loud crash, burying Scopas and all his guests beneath the
ruins.  On inquiring as to the appearance of the young men who
had sent for him, Simonides was satisfied that they were no other
than Castor and Pollux themselves.


Sappho was a poetess who flourished in a very early age of Greek
literature.  Of her works few fragments remain, but they are
enough to establish her claim to eminent poetical genius.  The
story of Sappho commonly alluded to is that she was passionately
in love with a beautiful youth named Phaon, and failing to obtain
a return of affection she threw herself from the promontory of
Leucadia into the sea, under a superstition that those who should
take that "Lover's-leap," would, if not destroyed, be cured of
their love.

Byron alludes to the story of Sappho in Childe Harold, Canto II.:

Those who wish to know more of Sappho and her leap, are referred
to the Spectator, Nos. 223 and 229, and also to Moore's Evenings
in Greece.

Chapter XIX
Endymion.   Orion.   Aurora and Tithonus.   Acis and Galatea

Endymion was a beautiful youth who fed his flock on Mount Latmos.
One calm, clear night, Diana, the Moon, looked down and saw him
sleeping.  The cold heart of the virgin goddess was warmed by his
surpassing beauty, and she came down to him, kissed him, and
watched over him while he slept.

Another story was that Jupiter bestowed on him the gift of
perpetual youth united with perpetual sleep.  Of one so gifted we
can have but few adventures to record.  Diana, it was said, took
care that his fortunes should not suffer by his inactive life,
for she made his flock increase, and guarded his sheep and lambs
from the wild beasts.

The story of Endymion has a peculiar charm from the human meaning
which it so thinly veils.  We see in Endymion the young poet, his
fancy and his heart seeking in vain for that which can satisfy
them, finding his favorite hour in the quiet moonlight, and
nursing there beneath the beams of the bright and silent witness
the melancholy and the ardor which consumes him.  The story
suggests aspiring and poetic love, a life spent more in dreams
than in reality, and an early and welcome death.
S. G. Bulfinch

The Endymion of Keats is a wild and fanciful poem, containing
some exquisite poetry, as this, to the moon:

"The sleeping kine
Couched in thy brightness dream of fields divine.
Innumerable mountains rise, and rise,
Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes,
And yet thy benediction passeth not
One obscure hiding place, one little spot
Where pleasure may be sent; the nested wren
Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken."

Dr. Young in the Night Thoughts alludes to Endymion thus:

"These thoughts, O Night, are thine;
>From thee they came like lovers' secret sighs,
While others slept.  So Cynthia, poets feign,
In shadows veiled, soft, sliding from her sphere,
Her shepherd cheered, of her enamored less
Than I of thee."

Fletcher, in the Faithful Shepherdess, tells,

"How the pale Phoebe, hunting in a grove,
First saw the boy Endymion, from whose eyes
She took eternal fire that never dies;
How she conveyed him softly in a sleep,
His temples bound with poppy, to the steep
Head of Old Latmos, where she stoops each night,
Gilding the mountain with her brother's light,
To kiss her sweetest."


Orion was the son of Neptune.  He was a handsome giant and a
mighty hunter.  His father gave him the power of wading through
the depths of the sea, or as others say, of walking on its

Orion loved Merope, the daughter of Oenopion, king of Chios, and
sought her in marriage.  He cleared the island of wild beasts,
and brought the spoils of the chase as presents to his beloved;
but as Oenopion constantly deferred his consent, Orion attempted
to gain possession of the maiden by violence.  Her father,
incensed at this conduct, having made Orion drunk, deprived him
of his sight, and cast him out on the sea shore.  The blinded
hero followed the sound of the Cyclops' hammer till he reached
Lemnos, and came to the forge of Vulcan, who, taking pity on him,
gave him Kedalion, one of his men, to be his guide to the abode
of the sun.  Placing Kedalion on his shoulders, Orion proceeded
to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, was restored to sight
by his beam.

After this he dwelt as a hunter with Diana, with whom he was a
favorite, and it is even said she was about to marry him.  Her
brother was highly displeased and often chid her, but to no
purpose.  One day, observing Orion wading though the sea with his
head just above the water, Apollo pointed it out to his sister
and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the
sea.  The archer-goddess discharged a shaft with fatal aim.  The
waves rolled the dead body of Orion to the land, and bewailing
her fatal error with many tears, Diana placed him among the
stars, where he appears as a giant, with a girdle, sword, lion's
skin, and club.  Sirius, his dog, follows him, and the Pleiads
fly before him.

The Pleiads were daughters of Atlas, and nymphs of Diana's train.
One day Orion saw them, and became enamored, and pursued them.
In their distress they prayed to the gods to change their form,
and Jupiter in pity turned them into pigeons, and then made them
a constellation in the sky.  Though their numbers was seven, only
six stars are visible, for Electra, one of them, it is said, left
her place that she might not behold the ruin of Troy, for that
city was founded by her son Dardanus.  The sight had such an
effect on her sisters that they have looked pale ever since.

Mr. Longfellow has a poem on the "Occultation of Orion."  The
following lines are those in which he alludes to the mythic
story.  We must premise that on the celestial globe Orion is
represented as robed in a lion's skin and wielding a club.  At
the moment the stars of the constellation one by one were
quenched in the light of the moon, the poet tells us,

"Down fell the red skin of the lion
Into the river at his feet.
His mighty club no longer beat
The forehead of the bull; but he
Reeled as of yore beside the sea,
When blinded by Oenopion
He sought the blacksmith at his forge,
And climbing up the narrow gorge,
Fixed his blank eyes upon the sun."

Tennyson has a different theory of the Pleiads:

"Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising through the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid."
Locksley Hall

Byron alludes to the lost Pleiad:

"Like the lost Pleiad seen no more below."

See also Mrs. Heman's verses on the same subject.


Aurora, the goddess of the Dawn, like her sister the Moon, was at
times inspired with the love of mortals.  Her greatest favorite
was Tithonus, son of Laomedon, king of Troy.  She stole him away,
and prevailed on Jupiter to grant him immortality; but forgetting
to have youth joined in the gift, after some time she began to
discern, to her great mortification, that he was growing old.
When his hair was quite white she left his society; but he still
had the range of her palace, lived on ambrosial food, and was
clad in celestial raiment.  At length he lost the power of using
his limbs, and then she shut him up in his chamber, whence his
feeble voice might at times be heard.  Finally she turned him
into a grasshopper.

Memnon was the son of aurora and Tithonus.  He was king of the
AEthiopians, and dwelt in the extreme east, on the shore of
Ocean.  He came with his warriors to assist the kindred of his
father in the war of Troy.  King Priam received him with great
honors, and listened with admiration to his narrative of the
wonders of the ocean shore.

The very day after his arrival, Memnon, impatient of repose, led
his troops to the field.  Antilochus, the brave son of Nestor,
fell by his hand, and the Greeks were put to flight, when
Achilles appeared and restored the battle.  A long and doubtful
contest ensued between him and the son of Aurora; at length
victor declared for Achilles, Memnon fell, and the Trojans fled
in dismay.

Aurora, who, from her station in the sky, had viewed with
apprehension the danger of her son, when she saw him fall
directed his brothers, the Winds, to convey his body to the banks
of the river Esepus in Paphlagonia.  In the evening Aurora came,
accompanied by the Hours and the Pleiads, and wept and lamented
over her son.  Night, in sympathy with her grief, spread the
heaven with clouds; all nature mourned for the offspring of the
Dawn.  The Aethiopians raised his tomb on the banks of the stream
in the grove of the nymphs, and Jupiter caused the sparks and
cinders of his funeral-pile to be turned into birds, which,
dividing into two flocks, fought over the pile till they fell
into the flame.  Every year, at the anniversary of his death,
they return and celebrate his obsequies in like manner.  Aurora
remains inconsolable for the loss of her son.  Her tears still
flow, and may be seen at early morning in the form of dew-drops
on the grass.

Unlike most of the marvels of ancient mythology, there will exist
some memorials of this.  On the banks of the river Nile, in
Egypt, are two colossal statues, one of which is said to be the
statue of Memnon.  Ancient writers record that when the first
rays of the rising sun fall upon this statue, a sound is heard to
issue from it which they compare to the snapping of a harp-
string.  There is some doubt about the identification of the
existing statue with the one described by the ancients, and the
mysterious sounds are still more doubtful.  Yet there are not
wanting some modern testimonies to their being still audible.  It
has been suggested that sounds produced by confined air making
its escape from crevices or caverns in the rocks may have given
some ground for the story.  Sir Gardner Wilkinson, a late
traveller, of the highest authority, examined the statue itself,
and discovered that it was hollow, and that "in the lap of the
statue is a stone, which, on being struck, emits a metallic
sound, that might still be made use of to deceive a visitor who
was predisposed to believe its powers."

The vocal statue of Memnon is a favorite subject of allusion with
the poets.  Darwin, in his Botanic Garden, says,

"So to the sacred Sun in Memnon's fane
Spontaneous concords choired the matin strain;
Touched by his orient beam responsive rings
The living lyre and vibrates all its strings;
Accordant aisles the tender tones prolong,
And holy echoes swell the adoring song."


Scylla was a fair virgin of Sicily, a favorite of the Sea-Nymphs.
She had many suitors, but repelled them all, and would go to the
grotto of Galatea, and tell her how she was persecuted.  One day
the goddess, while Scylla dressed her hair, listened to the
story, and then replied, "Yet, maiden, your persecutors are of
the not ungentle race of men, whom if you will you can repel; but
I, the daughter of Nereus, and protected by such a band of
sisters, found no escape from the passion of the Cyclops but in
the depths of the sea;" and tears stopped her utterance, which
when the pitying maiden had wiped away with her delicate finger,
and soothed the goddess, "Tell me, dearest," said she, "the cause
of your grief."  Galatea then said, "Acis was the son of Faunus
and a Naiad.  His father and mother loved him dearly, but their
love was not equal to mine.  For the beautiful youth attached
himself to me alone, and he was just sixteen years old, the down
just beginning to darken his cheeks.  As much as I sought his
society, so much did the cyclops seek mine; and if you ask me
whether my love for Acis or my hatred for Polyphemus was the
stronger, I cannot tell you; they were in equal measure.  Oh,
Venus, how great is thy power!  This fierce giant, the terror of
the woods, whom no hapless stranger escaped unharmed, who defied
even Jove himself, learned to feel what love was, and touched
with a passion for me, forgot his flocks and his well-stored
caverns.  Then, for the first time, he began to take some care of
his appearance, and to try to make himself agreeable; he harrowed
those coarse locks of his with a comb, and mowed his beard with a
sickle, looked at his harsh features in the water, and composed
his countenance.  His love of slaughter, his fierceness and
thirst of blood prevailed no more, and ships that touched at his
island went away in safety.   He paced up and down the sea-shore,
imprinting huge tracks with his heavy tread, and, when weary, lay
tranquilly in his cave.

"There is a cliff which projects into the sea, which washes it on
either side.  Thither one day the huge Cyclops ascended, and sat
down while his flocks spread themselves around.  Laying down his
staff which would have served for a mast to hold a vessel's sail,
and taking his instrument, compacted of numerous pipes, he made
the hills and the waters echo the music of his song.  I lay hid
under a rock, by the side of my beloved Acis, and listened to the
distant strain.  It was full of extravagant praises of my beauty,
mingled with passionate reproaches of my coldness and cruelty.

"When he had finished he rose up, and like a raging bull, that
cannot stand still, wandered off into the woods.  Acis and I
thought no more of him, till on a sudden he came to a spot which
gave him a view of us as we sat.  'I see you,' he exclaimed, 'and
I will make this the last of your love-meetings.'  His voice was
a roar such as an angry Cyclops alone could utter.  AEtna
trembled at the sound.  I, overcome with terror, plunged into the
water.  Acis turned and fled, crying, 'Save me, Galatea, save me,
my parents!"  The Cyclops pursued him, and tearing a rock from
the side of the mountain hurled it at him.  Though only a corner
of it touched him it overwhelmed him.

"All that fate left in my power I did for Acis.  I endowed him
with the honors of his grandfather the river-god.   The purple
blood flowed out from under the rock, but by degrees grew paler
and looked like the stream of a river rendered turbid by rains,
and in time it became clear.  The rock cleaved open, and the
water, as it gushed from the chasm, uttered a pleasing murmur."

Thus Acis was changed into a river, and the river retains the
name of Acis.

Chapter XX
The Trojan War

Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, but on one occasion she did a
very foolish thing; she entered into competition with Juno and
Venus for the prize of beauty.  It happened thus.  At the
nuptials of Peleus and Thetis all the gods were invited with the
exception of Eris, or Discord.  Enraged at her exclusion, the
goddess threw a golden apple among the guests with the
inscription, "For the most beautiful."  Thereupon Juno, Venus,
and Minerva, each claimed the apple.  Jupiter not willing to
decide in so delicate a matter, sent the goddesses to Mount Ida,
where the beautiful shepherd Paris was tending his flocks, and to
him was committed the decision.  The goddesses accordingly
appeared before him.  Juno promised him power and riches, Minerva
glory and renown in war, and Venus the fairest of women for his
wife, each attempting to bias his decision in her own favor.
Paris decided in favor of Venus and gave her the golden apple,
thus making the two other goddesses his enemies.  Under the
protection of Venus, Paris sailed to Greece, and was hospitably
received by Menelaus, king of Sparta.  Now Helen, the wife of
Menelaus, was the very woman whom Venus had destined for Paris,
the fairest of her sex.  She had been sought as a bride by
numerous suitors, and before her decision was made known, they
all, at the suggestion of Ulysses, one of their number, took an
oath that they would defend her from all injury and avenge her
cause if necessary.  She chose Menelaus, and was living with him
happily when Paris became their guest.  Paris, aided by Venus,
persuaded her to slope with him, and carried her to Troy, whence
arose the famous Trojan war, the theme of the greatest poems of
antiquity, those of Homer and Virgil.

Menelaus called upon his brother chieftains of Greece to fulfil
their pledge, and join him in his efforts to recover his wife.
They generally came forward, but Ulysses, who had married
Penelope and was very happy in his wife and child, had no
disposition to embark in such a troublesome affair.  He therefore
hung back and Palamedes was sent to urge him.  When Palamedes
arrived at Ithaca, Ulysses pretended to be mad.  He yoked an ass
and an ox together to the plough and began to sow salt.
Palamedes, to try him, placed the infant Telemachus before the
plough, whereupon the father turned the plough aside, showing
plainly that he was no madman, and after that could no longer
refuse to fulfil his promise.  Being now himself gained for the
undertaking, he lent his aid to bring in other reluctant chiefs,
especially Achilles.  This hero was the son of that Thetis at
whose marriage the apple of Discord had been thrown among the
goddesses.  Thetis was herself one of the immortals, a sea-nymph,
and knowing that her son was fated to perish before Troy if he
went on the expedition, she endeavored to prevent his going.  She
sent him away to the court of king Lycomedes, and induced him to
conceal himself in the disguise of a maiden among the daughters
of the king.  Ulysses, hearing he was there, went disguised as a
merchant to the palace and offered for sale female ornaments,
among which he had placed some arms.  While the king's daughters
were engrossed with the other contents of the merchant's pack,
Achilles handled the weapons and thereby betrayed himself to the
keen eye of Ulysses, who found no great difficulty in persuading
him to disregard his mother's prudent counsels and join his
countrymen in the war.

Priam was king of Troy, and Paris, the shepherd and seducer of
Helen, was his son.  Paris had been brought up in obscurity,
because there were certain ominous forebodings connected with him
from his infancy that he would be the ruin of the state.  These
forebodings seemed at length likely to be realized, for the
Grecian armament now in preparation was the greatest that had
ever been fitted out.  Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, and brother of
the injured Menelaus, was chosen commander-in-chief.  Achilles
was their most illustrious warrior.  After him ranked Ajax,
gigantic in size and of great courage, but dull of intellect,
Diomedes, second only to Achilles in all the qualities of a hero,
Ulysses, famous for his sagacity, and Nestor, the oldest of the
Grecian chiefs, and one to whom they all looked up for counsel.
But Troy was no feeble enemy.  Priam, the king, was now old, but
he had been a wise prince and had strengthened his state by good
government at home and numerous alliances with his neighbors.
But the principal stay and support of his throne was his son
Hector, one of the noblest characters painted by heathen
antiquity.  Hector felt, from the first, a presentiment of the
fall of his country, but still persevered in his heroic
resistance, yet by no means justified the wrong which brought
this danger upon her.  He was united in marriage with Andromache,
and as a husband and father his character was not less admirable
than as a warrior.  The principal leaders on the side of the
Trojans, besides Hector, were Aeneas and Deiphobus, Glaucus and

After two years of preparation the Greek fleet and army assembled
in the port of Aulis in Boeotia.  Here Agamemnon in hunting
killed a stag which was sacred to Diana, and the goddess in
return visited the army with pestilence, and produced a calm
which prevented the ships from leaving the port.  Calchas the
soothsayer thereupon announced that the wrath of the virgin
goddess could only be appeased by the sacrifice of a virgin on
her altar, and that none other but the daughter of the offender
would be acceptable.  Agamemnon, however reluctant, yielded his
consent, and the maiden Iphigenia was sent for under the pretence
that she was to be married to Achilles.  When she was about to be
sacrificed the goddess relented and snatched her away, leaving a
hind in her place, and Iphigenia enveloped in a cloud was carried
to Tauris, where Diana made her priestess of her temple.

Tennyson, in his Dream of Fair women, makes Iphigenia thus
describe her feelings at the moment of sacrifice, the moment
represented in our engraving:

"I was cut off from hope in that sad place,
Which yet to name my spirit loathes and fears;
My father held his hand upon his face;
I, blinded by my tears,

"Still strove to speak; my voice was thick with sighs,
As in a dream.  Dimly I could descry
The stern black-bearded kings, with wolfish eyes,
Waiting to see me die.

"The tall masts quivered as they lay afloat,
The temples and the people and the shore;
One drew a sharp knife through my tender throat
Slowly, and    nothing more."

The wind now proving fair the fleet made sail and brought the
forces to the coast of Troy.  The Trojans came to oppose their
landing, and at the first onset Protesilaus fell by the hand of
Hector.  Protesilaus had left at home his wife Laodamia, who was
most tenderly attached to him.  When the news of his death
reached her she implored the gods to be allowed to converse with
him only three hours.  The request was granted.  Mercury led
Protesilaus back to the upper world, and when he died a second
time Laodamia died with him.  There was a story that the nymphs
panted elm trees round his grave which grew very well till they
were high enough to command a view of Troy, and then withered
away, while fresh branches sprang from the roots.

Wordsworth has taken the story of Protesilaus and Laodamia for
the subject of a poem.  It seems the oracle had declared that
victory should be the lot of that party from which should fall
the first victim to the war.  The poet represents Protesilaus, on
his brief return to earth, as relating to Laodamia the story of
his fate:

"The wished-for wind was given; I then revolved
The oracle, upon the silent sea;
And if no worthier led the way, resolved
That of a thousand vessels mine should be
The foremost prow impressing to the strand,
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand.

"Yet bitter, ofttimes bitter was the pang
When of thy loss I thought, beloved wife!
On thee too fondly did my memory hang,
And on the joys we shared in mortal life,
The paths which we had trod,   these fountains, flowers;
My new planned cities and unfinished towers.

"But should suspense permit the foe to cry,
'Behold they tremble!  Haughty their array,
Yet of their number no one dares to die!'"
In soul I swept the indignity away;
Old frailties then recurred; but lofty thought
In act embodied my deliverance wrought.
. . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .
Upon the side
Of Hellespont (such faith was entertained)
A knot of spiry trees for ages grew
>From out the tomb of him for whom she died;
And ever when such stature they had gained
That Ilium's walls were subject to their view,
The trees' tall summits withered at the sight,
A constant interchange of growth and blight!"


The war continued without decisive results for nine years.  Then
an event occurred which seemed likely to be fatal to the cause of
the Greeks, and that was a quarrel between Achilles and
Agamemnon.  It is at this point that the great poem of Homer, the
Iliad, begins.  The Greeks, though unsuccessful against Troy, had
taken the neighboring and allied cities, and in the division of
the spoil a female captive, by name Chryseis, daughter of
Chryses, priest of Apollo, had fallen to the share of Agamemnon.
Chryses came bearing the sacred emblems of his office, and begged
the release of his daughter.  Agamemnon refused.  Thereupon
Chryses implored Apollo to afflict the Greeks till they should be
forced to yield their prey.  Apollo granted the prayer of his
priest, and sent pestilence into the Grecian camp.  Then a
council was called to deliberate how to allay the wrath of the
gods and avert the plague.  Achilles boldly charged their
misfortunes upon Agamemnon as caused by his withholding Chryseis.
Agamemnon enraged, consented to relinquish his captive, but
demanded that Achilles should yield to him in her stead Briseis,
a maiden who had fallen to Achilles' share in the division of the
spoil.  Achilles submitted, but forthwith declared that he would
take no further part in the war.  He withdrew his forces from the
general camp and openly avowed his intention of returning home to

The gods and goddesses interested themselves as much in this
famous war as the parties themselves.  It was well known to them
that fate had decreed that Troy should fall, at last, if her
enemies should persevere and not voluntarily abandon the
enterprise.  Yet there was room enough left for chance to excite
by turns the hopes and fears of the powers above who took part
with either side.  Juno and Minerva, in consequence of the slight
put upon their charms by Paris, were hostile to the Trojans;
Venus for the opposite cause favored them.  Venus enlisted her
admirer Mars on the same side, but Neptune favored the Greeks.
Apollo was neutral, sometimes taking one side, sometimes the
other, and Jove himself, though he loved the good King Priam, yet
exercised a degree of impartiality; not however without

Thetis, the mother of Achilles, warmly resented the injury done
to her son.  She repaired immediately to Jove's palace, and
besought him to make the Greeks repent of their injustice to
Achilles by granting success to the Trojan arms.  Jupiter
consented; and in the battle which ensued the Trojans were
completely successful.  The Greeks were driven from the field,
and took refuge in their ships.  Then Agamemnon called a council
of his wisest and bravest chiefs.  Nestor advised that an embassy
should be sent to Achilles to persuade him to return to the
field; that Agamemnon should yield the maiden, the cause of the
dispute, with ample gifts to atone for the wrong he had done.
Agamemnon consented, and Ulysses, Ajax, and Phoenix were sent to
carry to Achilles the penitent message.  They performed that
duty, but Achilles was deaf to their entreaties.  He positively
refused to return to the field, and persisted in his resolution
to embark for Greece without delay.  The Greeks had constructed a
rampart around their ships, and now, instead of besieging Troy,
they were in a manner besieged themselves within their rampart.
The next day after the unsuccessful embassy to Achilles, a battle
was fought, and the Trojans, favored by Jove, were successful,
and succeeded in forcing a passage through the Grecian rampart,
and were about to set fire to the ships.  Neptune, seeing the
Greeks so pressed, came to their rescue.  He appeared in the form
of Calchas the prophet, encouraged the warriors with his shouts,
and appealed to each individually till he raised their ardor to
such a pitch that they forced the Trojans to give way.  Ajax
performed prodigies of valor, and at length encountered Hector.
Ajax shouted defiance, to which Hector replied, and hurled his
lance at the huge warrior.  It was well aimed, and struck Ajax
where the belts that bore his sword and shield crossed each other
on the breast.  The double guard prevented its penetrating, and
it fell harmless.  Then Ajax, seeing a huge stone, one of those
that served to prop the ships, hurled it at Hector.  It struck
him in the neck and stretched him on the plain.  His followers
instantly seized him, and bore him off stunned and wounded.

While Neptune was thus aiding the Greeks and driving back the
Trojans, Jupiter saw nothing of what was going on, for his
attention had been drawn from the field by the wiles of Juno.
That goddess had arrayed herself in all her charms, and, to crown
all, had borrowed of Venus her girdle called Cestus, which had
the effect to heighten the wearer's charms to such a degree that
they were quite irresistible.  So prepared, Juno went to join her
husband, who sat on Olympus watching the battle.  When he beheld
her she looked so charming that the fondness of his early love
revived, and, forgetting the contending armies and all other
affairs of state, he thought only of her and let the battle go as
it would.

But this absorption did not continue long, and when, upon turning
his eyes downward, he beheld Hector stretched on the plain almost
lifeless from pain and bruises, he dismissed Juno in a rage,
commanding her to send Iris and Apollo to him.  When Iris came he
sent her with a stern message to Neptune, ordering him instantly
to quit the field.  Apollo was dispatched to heal Hector's
bruises and to inspirit his heart.  These orders were obeyed with
such speed that while the battle still raged, Hector returned to
the field and Neptune betook himself to his own dominions.

An arrow from Paris's bow wounded Machaon, son of Aesculapius,
who inherited his father's art of healing, and was therefore of
great value to the Greeks as their surgeon, besides being one of
their bravest warriors.  Nestor took Machaon in his chariot and
conveyed him from the field.  As they passed the ships of
Achilles, that hero, looking out over the field, saw the chariot
of Nestor and recognized the old chief, but could not discern who
the wounded chief was.  So calling Patroclus, his companion and
dearest friend, he sent him to Nestor's tent to inquire.

Patroclus, arriving at Nestor's tent, saw Machaon wounded, and
having told the cause of his coming would have hastened away, but
Nestor detained him, to tell him the extent of the Grecian
calamities.  He reminded him also how, at the time of departing
for Troy, Achilles and himself had been charged by their
respective fathers with different advice; Achilles to aspire to
the highest pitch of glory, Patroclus, as the elder, to keep
watch over his friend, and to guide his inexperience.  "Now,"
said Nestor, "is the time for such influence.  If the gods so
please, thou mayest win him back to the common cause; but if not
let hm at least send his soldiers to the field, and come thou,
Patroclus, clad in his armor, and perhaps the very sight of it
may drive back the Trojans."

Patroclus was strongly moved with this address, and hastened back
to Achilles, revolving in his mind all he had seen and heard.  He
told the prince the sad condition of affairs at the camp of their
late associates; Diomedes, Ulysses, Agamemnon, Machaon, all
wounded, the rampart broken down, the enemy among the ships
preparing to burn them, and thus to cut off all means of return
to Greece.  While they spoke the flames burst forth from one of
the ships.  Achilles, at the sight, relented so far as to grant
Patroclus his request to lead the Myrmidons (for so were
Achilles' soldiers called) to the field, and to lend him his
armor that he might thereby strike more terror into the minds of
the Trojans.  Without delay the soldiers were marshalled,
Patroclus put on the radiant armor and mounted the chariot of
Achilles, and led forth the men ardent for battle.  But before he
went, Achilles strictly charged him that he should be content
with repelling the foe.  "Seek not," said he, "to press the
Trojans without me, lest thou add still more to the disgrace
already mine."  Then exhorting the troops to do their best he
dismissed them full of ardor to the fight.

Patroclus and his Myrmidons at once plunged into the contest
where it raged hottest; at the sight of which the joyful Grecians
shouted and the ships reechoed the acclaim.  The Trojans, at the
sight of the well-known armor, struck with terror, looked every
where for refuge.  First those who had got possession of the ship
and set it on fire left and allowed the Grecians to retake it and
extinguish the flames.  Then the rest of the Trojans fled in
dismay.  Ajax, Menelaus, and the two sons of Nestor performed
prodigies of valor.  Hector was forced to turn his horses' heads
and retire from the enclosure, leaving his men entangled in the
fosse to escape as they could.  Patroclus drove them before him,
slaying many, none daring to make a stand against him.

At last Sarpedon, son of Jove, ventured to oppose himself in
fight to Patroclus.  Jupiter looked down upon him and would have
snatched him from the fate which awaited him, but Juno hinted
that if he did so it would induce all others of the inhabitants
of heaven to interpose in like manner whenever any of their
offspring were endangered; to which reason Jove yielded.
Sarpedon threw his spear but missed Patroclus, but Patroclus
threw his with better success.  It pierced Sarpedon's breast and
he fell, and, calling to his friends to save his body from the
foe, expired.  Then a furious contest arose for the possession of
the corpse.  The Greeks succeeded and stripped Sarpedon of his
armor; but Jove would not allow the remains of his son to be
dishonored, and by his command Apollo snatched from the midst of
the combatants the body of Sarpedon and committed it to the care
of the twin brothers Death and Sleep, by whom it was transported
to Lycia, the native land of Sarpedon, where it received due
funeral rites.

Thus far Patroclus had succeeded to his utmost wish in repelling
the Trojans and relieving his countrymen, but now came a change
of fortune.  Hector, borne in his chariot, confronted him.
Patroclus threw a vast stone at Hector, which missed its aim, but
smote Cebriones, the charioteer, and knocked him from the car.
Hector leaped from the chariot to rescue his friend, and
Patroclus also decended to complete his victory.  Thus the two
heroes met face to face.  At this decisive moment the poet, as if
reluctant to give Hector the glory, records that Phoebus took
part against Patroclus.  He struck the helmet from his head and
the lance from his hand.  At the same moment an obscure Trojan
wounded him in the back, and Hector pressing forward pierced him
with his spear.  He fell mortally wounded.

Then arose a tremendous conflict for the body of Patroclus, but
his armor was at once taken possession of by Hector, who,
retiring a short distance, divested himself of his own armor and
put on that of Achilles, then returned to the fight.  Ajax and
Menelaus defended the body, and Hector and his bravest warriors
struggled to capture it.  The battle raged with equal fortune,
when Jove enveloped the whole face of heaven with a dark cloud.
The lightning flashed, the thunder roared, and Ajax, looking
round for some one whom he might dispatch to Achilles to tell him
of the death of his friend and of the imminent danger that his
remains would fall into the hands of the enemy, could see no
suitable messenger.  It was then that he exclaimed in those
famous lines so often quoted,

"Father of heaven and earth!  Deliver thou
Achaia's host from darkness; clear the skies;
Give day; and, since thy sovereign will is such,
Destruction with it; but, oh, give us day."

Or, as rendered by Pope,

"Lord of earth and air!
Oh, king!  Oh, father!  Hear my humble prayer!
Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore;
Give me to see and Ajax asks no more;
If Greece must perish we thy will obey
But let us perish in the face of day."

 Jupiter heard the prayer and dispersed the clouds.  Then Ajax
sent Antilochus to Achilles with the intelligence of Patroclus's
death, and of the conflict raging for his remains.  The Greeks at
last succeeded in bearing off the body to the ships, closely
pursued by Hector and Aeneas and rest of the Trojans.

Achilles heard the fate of his friend with such distress that
Antilochus feared for a while that he would destroy himself.  His
groans reached the ears of his mother, Thetis, far down in the
deeps of ocean where she abode, and she hastened to him to
inquire the cause.  She found him overwhelmed with self-reproach
that he had indulged his resentment so far, and suffered his
friend to fall a victim to it.  But his only consolation was the
hope of revenge.  He would fly instantly in search of Hector.
But his mother reminded him that he was now without armor, and
promised him, if he would but wait till the morrow, she would
procure for him a suit of armor from Vulcan more than equal to
that he had lost.  He consented, and Thetis immediately repaired
to Vulcan's palace.  She found him busy at his forge making
tripods for his own use, so artfully constructed that they moved
forward of their own accord when wanted, and retired again when
dismissed.  On hearing the request of Thetis, Vulcan immediately
laid aside his work and hastened to comply with her wishes.  He
fabricated a splendid suit of armor for Achilles, first a shield
adorned with elaborate devices, then a helmet crested with gold,
then a corslet and greaves of impenetrable temper, all perfectly
adapted to his form, and of consummate workmanship.  It was all
done in one night, and Thetis, receiving it, descended with it to
earth and laid it down at Achilles' feet at the dawn of day.

The first glow of pleasure that Achilles had felt since the death
of Petroclus was at the sight of this splendid armor.  And now
arrayed in it, he went forth into the camp, calling all the
chiefs to council.  When they were all assembled he addressed
them.  Renouncing his displeasure against Agamemnon and bitterly
lamenting the miseries that had resulted from it, he called on
them to proceed at once to the field.  Agamemnon made a suitable
reply, laying all the blame on Ate, the goddess of discord, and
thereupon complete reconcilement took place between the heroes.

Then Achilles went forth to battle, inspired with a rage and
thirst for vengeance that made him irresistible.  The bravest
warriors fled before him or fell by his lance.  Hector, cautioned
by Apollo, kept aloof, but the god, assuming the form of one of
Priam's sons, Lycaon, urged AEneas to encounter the terrible
warrior.  AEneas, though he felt himself unequal, did not decline
the combat.  He hurled his spear with all his force against the
shield, the work of Vulcan.  It was formed of five metal plates;
two were of brass, two of tin, and one of gold.  The spear
pierced two thicknesses, but was stopped in the third.  Achilles
threw his with better success.  It pierced through the shield of
Aeneas, but glanced near his shoulder and made no wound.  Then
AEneas seized a stone, such as two men of modern times could
hardly lift, and was about to throw it, and Achilles, with sword
drawn, was about to rush upon him, when Neptune, who looked out
upon the contest, moved with pity for AEneas, who he saw would
surely fall a victim if not speedily rescued, spread a cloud
between the combatants, and lifting AEneas from the ground, bore
him over the heads of warriors and steeds to the rear of the
battle.  Achilles, when the mist cleared away, looked round in
vain for his adversary, and acknowledging the prodigy, turned his
arms against other champions.  But none dared stand before him,
and Priam looking down from his city walls beheld his whole army
in full flight towards the city.  He gave command to open wide
the gates to receive the fugitives, and to shut them as soon as
the Trojans should have passed, lest the enemy should enter
likewise.  But Achilles was so close in pursuit that that would
have been impossible if Apollo had not, in the form of Agenor,
Priam's son, encountered Achilles for a while, then turned to
fly, and taken the way apart from the city.  Achilles pursued and
had chased his supposed victim far from the walls, when Apollo
disclosed himself, and Achilles, perceiving how he had been
deluded, gave up the chase.

But when the rest had escaped into the town Hector stood without,
determined to await the combat.  His old father called to him
from the walls and begged him to retire nor tempt the encounter.
His mother, Hecuba, also besought him to the same effect, but all
in vain.  "How can I," said he to himself, "by whose command the
people went to this day's contest, where so many have fallen,
seek safety for myself against a single foe?  But what if I offer
him to yield up Helen and all her treasures and ample of our own
beside?  Ah no!  It is too late.  He would not even hear me
through, but slay me while I spoke."   While he thus ruminated,
Achilles approached, terrible as Mars, his armor flashing
lighting as he moved.  At that sight Hector's heart failed him
and he fled.  Achilles swiftly pursued.  They ran, still keeping
near the walls, till they had thrice encircled the city.  As
often as Hector approached the walls Achilles intercepted him and
forced him to keep out in a wider circle.  But Apollo sustained
Hector's strength, and would not let him sink in weariness.  Then
Pallas, assuming the form of Deiphobus, Hector's bravest brother,
appeared suddenly at his side.  Hector saw him with delight, and,
thus strengthened, stopped his flight and turned to meet
Achilles.  Hector threw his spear, which struck the shield of
Achilles and bounded back.  He turned to receive another from the
hand of Deiphobus, but Deiphobus was gone.  Then Hector
understood his doom and said, "Alas!  It is plain this is my hour
to die!  I thought Deiphobus at hand, but Pallas deceived me, and
he is still in Troy.  But I will not fall inglorious."  So
saying, he drew his falchion from his side and rushed at once to
combat.  Achilles, secured behind his shield, waited the approach
of Hector.  When he came within reach of his spear, Achilles,
choosing with his eye a vulnerable part where the armor leaves
the neck uncovered, aimed his spear at that part, and Hector
fell, death-wounded, and feebly said, "Spare my body!  Let my
parents ransom it, and let me receive funeral rites from the sons
and daughters of Troy."  To which Achilles replied, "Dog, name
not ransom nor pity to me, on whom you have brought such dire
distress.  No!  Trust me, nought shall save thy carcass from the
dogs.  Though twenty ransoms and thy weight in gold were offered,
I would refuse it all."

So saying, he stripped the body of its armor, and fastening cords
to the feet, tied them behind his chariot, leaving the body to
trail along the ground.  Then mounting the chariot he lashed the
steeds, and so dragged the body to and fro before the city.  What
words can tell the grief of King Priam and Queen Hecuba at this
sight!  His people could scarce restrain the old king from
rushing forth.  He threw himself in the dust, and besought them
each by name to give him way.  Hecuba's distress was not less
violent.  The citizens stood round them weeping.  The sound of
the mourning reached the ears of Andromache, the wife of Hector,
as she sat among her maidens at work, and anticipating evil she
went forth to the wall.  When she saw the sight there presented,
she would have thrown herself headlong from the wall, but fainted
and fell into the arms of her maidens.  Recovering, she bewailed
her fate, picturing to herself her country ruined, herself a
captive, and her son dependent for his bread on the charity of

When Achilles and the Greeks had taken their revenge on the
killer of Patroclus they busied themselves in paying due funeral
rites to their friend.  A pile was erected, and the body burned
with due solemnity; and then ensued games of strength and skill,
chariot races, wrestling, boxing, and archery.  Then the chiefs
sat down to the funeral banquet and after that retired to rest.
But Achilles neither partook of the feast nor of sleep.  The
recollection of his lost friend kept him awake, remembering their
companionship in toil and dangers, in battle or on the perilous
deep.  Before the earliest dawn he left his tent, and joining to
his chariot his swift steeds, he fastened Hector's body to be
dragged behind.  Twice he dragged him round the tomb of
Patroclus, leaving him at length stretched in the dust.  But
Apollo would not permit the body to be torn or disfigured with
all this abuse, but preserved it free from all taint or

When Achilles indulged his wrath in thus disgracing brave Hector,
Jupiter in pity summoned Thetis to his presence.  He told her to
go to her son and prevail on him to restore the body of Hector to
his friends.  Then Jupiter sent Iris to King Priam to encourage
him to go to Achilles and beg the body of his son.  Iris
delivered her message, and Priam immediately prepared to obey.
He opened his treasures and took out rich garments and cloths,
with ten talents in gold and two splendid tripods and a golden
cup of matchless workmanship.  Then he called to his sons and
bade them draw forth his litter and place in it the various
articles designed for a ransom to Achilles.

When all was ready, the old king with a single companion, as aged
as himself, the herald Idaeus, drove forth from the gates,
parting there with Hecuba his queen, and all his friends, who
lamented him as going to certain death.

But Jupiter, beholding with compassion the venerable king, sent
Mercury to be his guide and protector.  Mercury, assuming the
form of a young warrior, presented himself to the aged couple,
and while at the sight of him they hesitated whether to fly or
yield, the god approached, and grasping Priam's hand, offered to
be their guide to Achilles' tent.  Priam gladly accepted his
offered service, and he, mounting the carriage, assumed the reins
and soon conveyed them to the tent of Achilles.  Mercury's wand
put to sleep all the guards, and without hindrance he introduced
Priam into the tent where Achilles sat, attended hy two of his
warriors.  The old king threw himself at the feet of Achilles and
kissed those terrible hands which had destroyed so many of his
sons.  "Think, O Achilles," he said, "of thy own father, full of
days like me, and trembling on the gloomy verge of life.  Perhaps
even now some neighbor chief oppresses him, and there is none at
hand to succor him in his distress.  Yet doubtless knowing that
Achilles lives he still rejoices, hoping that one day he shall
see thy face again.  But no comfort cheers me, whose bravest
sons, so late the flower of Ilium, all have fallen.  Yet one I
had, one more than all the rest the strength of my age, whom
fighting for his country, thou hast slain.  I come to redeem his
body, bringing inestimable ransom with me. Achilles, reverence
the gods!  Recollect thy father!  For his sake show compassion to
me!"  These words moved Achilles and he wept; remembering by
turns his absent father and his lost friend.  Moved with pity of
Priam's silver locks and beard, he raised him from the earth and
thus spake: "Priam, I know that thou has reached this place
conducted by some god, for without divine aid no mortal even in
the prime of youth had dared the attempt.  I grant thy request;
moved thereto by the evident will of Jove."  So saying he arose,
and went forth with his two friends, and unloaded of its charge
the litter, leaving two mantles and a robe for the covering of
the body, which they placed on the litter, and spread the
garments over it, that not unveiled it should be borne back to
Troy.  Then Achilles dismissed the old king with his attendants,
having first pledged himself to allow a truce of twelve days for
the funeral solemnities.

As the litter approached the city and was descried from the
walls, the people poured forth to gaze once more on the face of
their hero.   Foremost of all, the mother and the wife of Hector
came, and at the sight of the lifeless body renewed their
lamentations.  The people all wept with them, and to the going
down of the sun there was no pause or abatement of their grief.

The next day preparations were made for the funeral solemnities.
For nine days the people brought wood and built the pile, and on
the tenth they placed the body on the summit and applied the
torch; while all Troy, thronging forth, encompassed the pile.
When it had completely burned, they quenched the cinders with
wine, collected the bones and placed them in a golden urn, which
they buried in the earth, and reared a pile of stones over the

"Such honors Ilium to her hero paid,
And peaceful slept the mighty Hector's shade."
Pope's Homer

Chapter XXI
The Fall of Troy.   Return of the Greeks.   Orestes and Electra

The story of the Iliad ends with the death of Hector, and it is
from the Odyssey and later poems that we learn the fate of the
other heroes.  After the death of Hector, Troy did not
immediately fall, but receiving aid from new allies still
continued its resistance.  One of these allies was Memnon, the
AETHIOPIAN prince, whose story we have already told.  Another was
Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons, who came with a band of female
warriors.  All the authorities attest their valor and the fearful
effect of their war-cry.  Penthesilea slew many of the bravest
warriors, but was at last slain by Achilles.  But when the hero
bent over his fallen foe, and contemplated her beauty, youth and
valor, he bitterly regretted his victory.  Thersites, an insolent
brawler and demagogue, ridiculed his grief, and was in
consequence slain by the hero.

Achilles by chance had seen Polyxena, daughter of King Priam,
perhaps on occasion of the truce which was allowed the Trojans
for the burial of Hector.  He was captivated with her charms, and
to win her in marriage agreed to use his influence with the
Greeks to grant peace to Troy.  While in the temple of Apollo,
negotiating the marriage, Paris discharged at him a poisoned
arrow, which guided by Apollo, wounded Achilles in the heel, the
only vulnerable part about him.  For Thetis, his mother, had
dipped him when an infant in the river Styx, which made every
part of him invulnerable except the heel by which she held him.
(The story of the invulnerability of Achilles is not found in
Homer, and is inconsistent with his account.  For how could
Achilles require the aid of celestial armor if he were

The body of Achilles, so treacherously slain, was rescued by Ajax
and Ulysses.  Thetis directed the Greeks to bestow her son's
armor on the hero who, of all survivors, should be judged most
deserving of it.  Ajax and Ulysses were the only claimants; a
select number of the other chiefs were appointed to award the
prize.  It was awarded to Ulysses, thus placing wisdom before
valor; whereupon Ajax slew himself.  On the spot where his blood
sank into the earth a flower sprang up, called the hyacinth,
bearing on its leaves the first two letters of the name of Ajax,
Ai, the Greek for "woe."  Thus Ajax is a claimant with the boy
Hyacinthus for the honor of giving birth to this flower.  There
is a species of Larkspur which represents the hyacinth of the
poets in preserving the memory of this event, the Delphinium
Ajacis   Ajax's Larkspur.

It was now discovered that Troy could not be taken but by the
arrows of Hercules.  They were in possession of Philoctetes, the
friend who had been with Hercules at the last, and lighted his
funeral pyre.  Philoctetes had joined the Grecian expedition
against Troy, but had accidentally wounded his foot with one of
the poisoned arrows, and the smell from his wound proved so
offensive that his companions carried him to the Isle of Lemnos
and left him there.  Diomedes was now sent to induce him to
rejoin the army.  He succeeded.  Philoctetes was cured of his
wound by Machaon, and Paris was the first victim of the fatal
arrows.  In his distress Paris bethought him of one whom in his
prosperity he had forgotten.  This was the nymph OEnone, whom he
had married when a youth, and had abandoned for the fatal beauty
Helen.  OEnone, remembering the wrongs she had suffered, refused
to heal the wound, and Paris went back to Troy and died.  OEnone
quickly repented, and hastened after him with remedies, but came
too late, and in her grief hung herself.

Tennyson has chosen OEnone as the subject of a short poem; but he
has omitted the concluding part of the story, the return of Paris
wounded, her cruelty and subsequent repentance.

"__________Hither came at noon
Mournful OENONE, wandering forlorn
Of Paris, once her playmate on the hills.
Her cheek had lost the rose, and round her neck
Floated her hair, or seemed to float in rest.
She, leaning on a fragment twined with vine,
Sang to the stillness, till the mountain-shade
Sloped downward to her seat from the upper cliff.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
"'O Mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
Dear Mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
I waited underneath the dawning hills,
Aloft the mountain lawn was dewy-dark,
And dewy-dark aloft the mountain pine:
Beautiful Paris, evil-hearted Paris,
Leading a jet-black goat, white-horned, white-hooved,
Come up from reedy Simois, all alone.

"'O Mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
Far off the torrent called me from the cliff:
Far up the solitary morning smote
The streaks of virgin snow.  With downdropt eyes
I sat alone: white-breasted like a star
Fronting the dawn he moved; a leopard-skin
Drooped from his shoulder, but his sunny hair
Clustered about his temples like a God's,
And his cheek brightened as the foambow brightens
When the wind blows the foam, and all my heart
Went forth to embrace him coming, ere he came.

"'Dear Mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
He smiled, and opening out his milk-white palm
Disclosed a fruit of pure Hesperian gold,
That smelt ambrosially, and while I looked
And listened, the full-flowing river of speech
Came down upon my heart.

"My own OENONE,
Beautiful-browed OENONE, my own soul,
Behold this fruit, whose gleaming rind ingraven
'For the most fair,' would seem award it thine
As lovelier than whatever Oread haunt
The knolls of Ida, loveliest in all grace
Of movement, and the charm of married brows."

"'Dear Mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
He prest the blossom of his lips to mine,
And added, "This was cast upon the board,
When all the full-faced presence of the gods
Hanged in the halls of Peleus; whereupon
Rose feud, with question unto whom 'twas due;
But light-foot Iris brought it yester-eve
Delivering, that to me, by common voice
Elected umpire, Heré comes to-day,
Pallas and Aphrodite, claiming each
This meed of fairest.  Thou within the cave
Beyond yon whispering tuft of oldest pine,
May'st well behold them unbeheld, unheard
Hear all, and see thy Paris judge of gods."'"

There was in Troy a celebrated statue of Minerva called the
Palladium.  It was said to have fallen from heaven, and the
belief was that the city could not be taken so long as this
statue remained within it.  Ulysses and Diomedes entered the city
in disguise, and succeeded in obtaining the Palladium, which they
carried off to the Grecian camp.

But Troy still held out, and the Greeks began to despair of ever
subduing it by force, and by advice of Ulysses resolved to resort
to stratagem.  They pretended to be making preparations to
abandon the siege, and a portion of the ships were withdrawn, and
lay hid behind a neighboring island.  The Greeks then constructed
an immense WOODEN HORSE, which they gave out was intended as a
propitiatory offering to Minerva, but in fact was filled with
armed men.  The remaining Greeks then betook themselves to their
ships and sailed away, as if for a final departure.  The Trojans,
seeing the encampment broken up and the fleet gone, concluded the
enemy to have abandoned the siege.  The gates were thrown open,
and the whole population issued forth rejoicing at the long-
prohibited liberty of passing freely over the scene of the late
encampment.  The great horse was the chief object of curiosity.
All wondered what it could be for.  Some recommended to take it
into the city as a trophy; others felt afraid of it.

While they hesitate, Laocoon, the priest of Neptune, exclaims,
"What madness, citizens, is this!  Have you not learned enough of
Grecian fraud to be on your guard against it?  For my part I fear
the Greeks even when they offer gifts."  So saying he threw his
lance at the horse's side.  It struck, and a hollow sound
reverberated like a groan.  Then perhaps the people might have
taken his advice and destroyed the fatal horse and all its
contents; but just at that moment a group of people appeared
dragging forward one who seemed a prisoner and a Greek.
Stupefied with terror he was brought before the chiefs, who
reassured him, promising that his life should be spared on
condition of his returning true answers to the questions asked
him.  He informed them that he was a Greek, Sinon by name, and
that in consequence of the malice of Ulysses he had been left
behind by his countrymen at their departure.  With regard to the
wooden horse, he told them that it was a propitiatory offering to
Minerva, and made so huge for the express purpose of preventing
its being carried within the city; for Calchas the prophet had
told them that if the Trojans took possession of it, they would
assuredly triumph over the Greeks.  This language turned the tide
of the people's feelings, and they began to think how they might
best secure the monstrous horse and the favorable auguries
connected with it, when suddenly a prodigy occurred which left no
room to doubt.  There appeared advancing over the sea two immense
serpents.  They came upon the land, and the crowd fled in all
directions.  The serpents advanced directly to the spot where
Laocoon stood with his two sons.  They first attacked the
children, winding round their bodies and breathing their
pestilential breath in their faces.  The father, attempting to
rescue them, is next seized and involved in the serpents' coils.
He struggles to tear them away, but they overpower all his
efforts and strangle him and the children in their poisonous
folds.  This event was regarded as a clear indication of the
displeasure of the gods at Laocoon's irreverent treatment of the
wooden horse, which they no longer hesitated to regard as a
sacred object and prepared to introduce with due solemnity into
the city.  This was done with songs and triumphal acclamations,
and the day closed with festivity.  In the night the armed men
who were enclosed in the body of the horse, being led out by the
traitor Sinon, opened the gates of the city to their friends who
had returned under cover of the night.  The city was set on fire;
the people, overcome with feasting and sleep, put to the sword,
and Troy completely subdued.

One of the most celebrated groups of statuary in existence is
that of Laocoon and his children in the embrace of the serpents.
"There is a cast of it in the Boston Athenaeum; the original is
in the Vatican at Rome.  The following lines are from the Childe
Harold of Byron:

"Now turning to the Vatican go see
Laocoon's torture dignifying pain;
A father's love and mortal's agony
With as immortal's patience blending;   vain
The struggle!  Vain against the coiling strain
And gripe and deepening of the dragon's grasp
The old man's clinch; the long envenomed chain
Rivets the living links; the enormous asp
Enforces pang on pang and stifles gasp on gasp."

The comic poets will also occasionally borrow a classical
allusion.  The following is from Swift's description of a City

"Boxed in a chair the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fits,
And over and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed
Pregnant with Greeks, impatient to be freed,
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, run them through;)
Laocoon struck the outside with a spear,
And each imprisoned champion quaked with fear."

King Priam lived to see the downfall of his kingdom, and was
slain at last on the fatal night when the Greeks took the city.
He had armed himself and was about to mingle with the combatants,
but was prevailed on by Hecuba, his aged queen, to take refuge
with herself and his daughters as a suppliant at the altar of
Jupiter.  While there, his youngest son Polites, pursued by
Pyrrhus (Pyrrhus's exclamation, "Not such aid nor such defenders
does the time require," has become proverbial.), the son of
Achilles, rushed in wounded, and expired at the feet of his
father; whereupon Priam, overcome with indignation, hurled his
spear with feeble hand against Pyrrhus, and was forthwith slain
by him.

Queen Hecuba and her daughter Cassandra were carried captives to
Greece.  Cassandra had been loved by Apollo, and he gave her the
gift of prophecy; but afterwards offended with her, he rendered
the gift unavailing by ordaining that her predictions should
never be believed.  Polyxena, another daughter, who had been
loved by Achilles, was demanded by the ghost of this warrior, and
was sacrificed by the Greeks upon his tomb.

>From Schiller's poem "Cassandra":

"And men my prophet wail deride!
The solemn sorrow dies in scorn;
And lonely in the waste, I hide
The tortured heart that would forewarn.
Amid the happy, unregarded,
Mock'd by their fearful joy, I trod;
Oh, dark to me the lot awarded,
Thou evil Pythian God!

"Thine oracle, in vain to be,
Oh, wherefore am I thus consigned,
With eyes that every truth must see,
Lone in the city of the blind?
Cursed with the anguish of a power
To view the fates I may not thrall,
The hovering tempest still must lower,
The horror must befall!

Boots it th veil to lift, and give
To sight the frowning fates beneath?
For error is the life we live,
And, oh, our knowledge is but death!
Take back the clear and awful mirror,
Shut from my eyes the blood-red glare;
Thy truth is but the gift of terror,
When mortal lips declare.

"My blindness give to me once more,
They gay dim senses that rejoice;
The past's delighted songs are o'er
For lips that speak a prophet's voice.
To me the future thou hast granted;
I miss the moment from the chain
The happy present hour enchanted!
Take back thy gift again!"
Sir Edw. L. Bulwer's translation


Our readers will be anxious to know the fate of Helen, the fair
but guilty occasion of so much slaughter.  On the fall of Troy
Menelaus recovered possession of his wife, who had not ceased to
love him, though she had yielded to the might of Venus and
deserted him for another.  After the death of Paris she aided the
Greeks secretly on several occasions, and in particular when
Ulysses and Diomedes entered the city in disguise to carry off
the Palladium.  She saw and recognized Ulysses, but kept the
secret, and even assisted them in obtaining the image.  Thus she
became reconciled to her husband, and they were among the first
to leave the shores of Troy for their native land.  But having
incurred the displeasure of the gods they were driven by storms
from shore to shore of the Mediterranean, visiting Cyprus,
Phoenicia and Egypt.  In Egypt they were kindly treated and
presented with rich gifts, of which Helen's share was a golden
spindle and a basket on wheels.  The basket was to hold the wool
and spools for the queen's work.

Dyer, in his poem of The Fleece, thus alludes to the incident:

"_________many yet adhere
To the ancient distaff at the bosom fixed.
Casting the whirling spindle as they walk.
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
This was of old, in no inglorious days,
The mode of spinning, when the Egyptian prince
A golden distaff gave that beauteous nymph,
Too beauteous Helen; no uncourtly gift."

Milton also alludes to a famous recipe for an invigorating
draught, called Nepenthe, which the Egyptian queen gave to Helen:

"Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
To life so friendly or so cool to thirst."

Menelaus and Helen at length arrived in safety at Sparta, resumed
their royal dignity, and lived and reigned in splendor; and when
Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, in search of his father, arrived
at Sparta, he found Menelaus and Helen celebrating the marriage
of their daughter Hermione to Neoptolemus, son of Achilles.

In "the Victory Feast," Schiller thus reviews the return of the
Greek heroes.

"The son of Atreus, king of men,
The muster of the hosts surveyed,
How dwindled from the thousands, when
Along Scamander first arrayed!
With sorrow and the cloudy thought,
The great king's stately look grew dim,
Of all the hosts to Ilion brought,
How few to Greece return with him!
Still let the song to gladness call,
For those who yet their home shall greet!
For them the blooming life is sweet;
Return is not for all!

"Nor all who reach their native land
May long the joy of welcome feel;
Beside the household gods may stand
Grim Murder, with awaiting steel
And they who 'scape the foe, may die
Beneath the foul, familiar glaive.
Thus he to whom prophetic eye
Her light the wise Minerva gave;
'Ah!  Bless'd, whose hearth, to memory true
The goddess keeps unstained and pure;
For woman's guile is deep and sure,
And falsehood loves the new!'

"The Spartan eyes his Helen's charms,
By the best blood of Greece recaptured;
Round that fair form his glowing arms
(A second bridal) wreath, enraptured.
Woe waits the work of evil birth,
Revenge to deeds unblessed is given!
For watchful o'er the things of earth,
The eternal council-halls of heaven.
Yes, ill shall never ill repay;
Jove to the impious hands that stain
The altar of man's heart,
Again the doomer's doom shall weigh!"
Sir Edw. L. Bulwer's translation


Agamemnon, the general-in-chief of the Greeks, the brother of
Menelaus, who had been drawn into the quarrel to avenge another's
wrongs, was not so fortunate in the issue as his brother.  During
his absence his wife Clytemnestra had been false to him, and when
his return was expected, she, with her paramour, AEgisthus, laid
a plan for his destruction, and at the banquet given to celebrate
his return, murdered him.

The conspirators intended also to slay his son Orestes, a lad not
yet old enough to be an object of apprehension, but from whom, if
he should be suffered to grow up, there might be danger.
Electra, the sister of Orestes, saved her brother's life by
sending him secretly away to his uncle Strophius, king of Phocis.
In the palace of Strophius, Orestes grew up with the king's son,
Pylades, and formed with him that ardent friendship which has
become proverbial.  Electra frequently reminded her brother hy
messengers of the duty of avenging his father's death, and when
grown up he consulted the oracle of Delphi, which confirmed him
in his design.  He therefore repaired in disguise to Argos,
pretending to he a messenger from Strophius, who had come to
announce the death of Orestes, and brought the ashes of the
deceased in a funeral urn.  After visiting his father's tomb and
sacrificing upon it, according to the rites of the ancients, he
made himself known to his sister Electra, and soon after slew
both AEgisthus and Clytemnestra.

This revolting act, the slaughter of a mother by her son, though
alleviated by the guilt of the victim and the express command of
the gods, did not fail to awaken in the breasts of the ancients
the same abhorrence that it does in ours.  The Eumenides,
avenging deities, seized upon Orestes, and drove him frantic from
land to land.  Pylades accompanied him in his wanderings, and
watched over him.  At length in answer to a second appeal to the
oracle, he was directed to go to Tauris in Scythia, and to bring
thence a statue of Diana which was believed to have fallen from
heaven.  Accordingly Orestes and Pylades went to Tauris, where
the barbarous people were accustomed to sacrifice to the goddess
all strangers who fell into their hands.  The two friends were
seized and carried bound to the temple to be made victims.  But
the priestess of Diana was no other than Iphigenia, the sister of
Orestes, who, our readers will remember, was snatched away by
Diana, at the moment when she was about to be sacrificed.
Ascertaining from the prisoners who they were, Iphigenia
disclosed herself to them, and the three made their escape with
the statue of the goddess, and returned to Mycenae.

But Orestes was not yet relieved from the vengeance of the
Erinnyes.  At length he took refuge with Minerva at Athens.  The
goddess afforded him protection, and appointed the court of
Areopagus to decide his fate.  The Erinnyes brought forward their
accusation, and Orestes made the command of the Delphic oracle
his excuse.  When the court voted and the voices were equally
divided, Orestes was acquitted by the command of Minerva.

Byron, in Childe Harold, Canto IV, alludes to the story of

"O thou who never yet of human wrong
Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis!
Thou who didst call the Furies from the abyss,
And round Orestes bade them howl and hiss,
For that unnatural retribution,   just,
Had it but been from hands less near,   in this,
Thy former realm, I call thee from the dust!"

One of the most pathetic scenes in the ancient drama is that in
which Sophocles represents the meeting of Orestes and Electra, on
his return from Phocis.  Orestes, mistaking Electra for one of
the domestics, and desirous of keeping his arrival a secret till
the hour of vengeance should arrive, produces the urn in which
his ashes are supposed to rest.  Electra, believing him to be
really dead, takes the urn, and embracing it, pours forth her
grief in language full of tenderness and despair.

Milton, in one of his sonnets, says:

"The repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare."

This alludes to the story that when, on one occasion, the city of
Athens was at the mercy of her Spartan foes, and it was proposed
to destroy it, the thought was rejected upon the accidental
quotation, by some one, of a chorus of Euripides.


After hearing so much about the city of Troy and its heroes, the
reader will perhaps be surprised to learn that the exact site of
that famous city is still a matter of dispute.  There are some
vestiges of tombs on the plain which most nearly answers to the
description given by Homer and the ancient geographers, but no
other evidence of the former existence of a great city.  Byron
thus describes the present appearance of the scene:

"The winds are high, and Helle's tide
Rolls darkly heaving to the main;
And night's descending shadows hide
That field with blood bedewed in vain,
The desert of old Priam's pride,
The tombs, sole relics of his reign,
All   save immortal dreams that could beguile
The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle."
Bride of Abydos.

Chapter XXII

Adventures of Ulysses.   The Lotus-Eaters.   Cyclopes.   Circe.
Sirens.   Scylla and Charybdis.   Calypso

The romantic poem of the Odyssey is now to engage our attention.
It narrates the wanderings of Ulysses (Odysseus in the Greek
language) in his return from Troy to his own kingdom of Ithaca.

>From Troy the vessels first made land at Ismarus, a city of the
Ciconians, where, in a skirmish with the inhabitants, Ulysses
lost six men from each ship.  Sailing thence they were overtaken
by a storm which drove them for nine days along the sea till they
reached the country of the Lotus-eaters.  Here, after watering,
Ulysses sent three of his men to discover who the inhabitants
were.  These men on coming among the Lotus-eaters were kindly
entertained by them, and were given some of their own food, the
lotus-plant to eat.  The effect of this food was such that those
who partook of it lost all thoughts of home and wished to remain
in that country.  It was by main force that Ulysses dragged these
men away, and he was even obliged to tie them under the benches
of his ship.  (Tennyson in the Lotus-eaters has charmingly
expressed the dreamy languid feeling which the lotus-food is said
to have produced:

"How sweet it were, hearing the downward stream
With half-shut eyes ever to seem
Falling asleep in a half-dream!
To dream and dream, like yonder amber light
Which will not leave the myrrh-bush on the height;
To hear each other's whispered speech;
Eating the lotus, day by day,
To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,
And tender curving lines of creamy spray;
To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;
To muse and brood and live again in memory,
With those old faces of our infancy
Heaped over with a mound of grass,
Two handfuls of white dust, shut in an urn of brass.")

They next arrived at the country of the Cyclopes.  The Cyclopes
were giants, who inhabited an island of which they were the only
possessors.  The name means "round eye," and these giants were so
called because they had but one eye, and that placed in the
middle of the forehead.  They dwelt in caves and fed on the wild
productions of the island and on what their flocks yielded, for
they were shepherds.  Ulysses left the main body of his ships at
anchor, and with one vessel went to the Cyclopes' island to
explore for supplies.  He landed with his companions, carrying
with them a jar of wine for a present, and coming to a large cave
they entered it, and finding no one within examined its contents.
They found it stored with the riches of the flock, quantities of
cheese, pails and bowls of milk, lambs and kids in their pens,
all in nice order.  Presently arrived the master of the cave,
Polyphemus, bearing an immense bundle of firewood, which he threw
down before the cavern's mouth.  He then drove into the cave the
sheep and goats to be milked, and, entering, rolled to the cave's
mouth an enormous rock, that twenty oxen could not draw.  Next he
sat down and milked his ewes, preparing a part for cheese, and
setting the rest aside for his customary drink.  Then turning
round his great eye he discerned the strangers, and growled out
to them, demanding who they were, and where from.  Ulysses
replied most humbly, stating that they were Greeks, from the
great expedition that had lately won so much glory in the
conquest of Troy; that they were now on their way home, and
finished by imploring his hospitality in the name of the gods.
Polyphemus deigned no answer, but reaching out his hand, seized
two of the Greeks, whom he hurled against the side of the cave,
and dashed out their brains.  He proceeded to devour them with
great relish, and having made a hearty meal, stretched himself
out on the floor to sleep.  Ulysses was tempted to seize the
opportunity and plunge his sword into him as he slept, but
recollected that it would only expose them all to certain
destruction, as the rock with which the giant had closed up the
door was far beyond their power to remove, and they would
therefore be in hopeless imprisonment.  Next morning the giant
seized two more of the Greeks, and dispatched them in the same
manner as their companions, feasting on their flesh till no
fragment was left.  He then moved away the rock from the door,
drove out his flocks, and went out, carefully replacing the
barrier after him.  When he was gone Ulysses planned how he might
take vengeance for his murdered friends, and effect his escape
with his surviving companions.  He made his men prepare a massive
bar of wood cut by the Cyclops for a staff, which they found in
the cave.  They sharpened the end of it and seasoned it in the
fire, and hid it under the straw on the cavern floor.  Then four
of the boldest were selected, with whom Ulysses joined himself as
a fifth.  The Cyclops came home at evening, rolled away the stone
and drove in his flock as usual.  After milking them and making
his arrangements as before, he seized two more of Ulysses'
companions and dashed their brains out, and made his evening meal
upon them as he had on the others.  After he had supped, Ulysses,
approaching him, handed him a bowl of wine, saying, "Cyclops,
this is wine; taste and drink after thy meal of man's flesh."  He
took and drank it, and was hugely delighted with it, and called
for more.  Ulysses supplied him once and again, which pleased the
giant so much that he promised him as a favor that he should be
the last of the party devoured.  He asked his name, to which
Ulysses replied, "My name is Noman."

After his supper the giant lay down to repose, and was soon sound
asleep.  Then Ulysses with his four select friends thrust the end
of the stake into the fire till it was all one burning coal, then
poising it exactly above the giant's only eye, they buried it
deeply into the socket, twirling it round and round as a
carpenter does his auger.  The howling monster filled the cavern
with his outcry, and Ulysses with his aids nimbly got out of his
way and concealed themselves in the cave.  The Cyclops,
bellowing, called aloud on all the Cyclopes dwelling in the caves
around him, far and near.  They on his cry flocked around the
den, and inquired what grievous hurt had caused him to sound such
an alarm and break their slumbers.  He replied, "O friends, I
die, and Noman gives the blow."  They answered, "If no man hurts
thee it is the stroke of Jove, and thou must bear it."  So
saying, they left him groaning.

Next morning the Cyclops rolled away the stone to let his flock
out to pasture, but planted himself in the door of the cave to
feel of all as they went out, that Ulysses and his men should not
escape with them.  But Ulysses had made his men harness the rams
of the flock three abreast, with osiers which they found on the
floor of the cave.  To the middle ram of the three one of the
Greeks suspended himself, so protected by the exterior rams on
either side.  As they passed, the giant felt of the animals'
backs and sides, but never thought of their bellies; so the men
all passed safe, Ulysses himself being on the last one that
passed.  When they had got a few paces from the cavern, Ulysses
and his friends released themselves from their rams, and drove a
good part of the flock down to the shore to their boat.  They put
them aboard with all haste, then pushed off from the shore, and
when at a safe distance Ulysses shouted, "Cyclops, the gods have
well requited thee for thy atrocious deeds.  Know it is Ulysses
to whom thou owest thy shameful loss of sight."  The Cyclops,
hearing this, seized a rock that projected from the side of the
mountain, and rending it from its bed he lifted it high in the
air, then exerting all his force, hurled it in the direction of
the voice.  Down came the mass, just clearing the vessel's stern.
The ocean, at the plunge of the huge rock, heaved the ship
towards the land, so that it barely escaped being swamped by the
waves.  When they had with the utmost difficulty pulled off
shore, Ulysses was about to hail the giant again, but his friends
besought him not to do so.  He could not forbear, however,
letting the giant know that they had escaped his missile, but
waited till they had reached a safer distance than before,   The
giant answered them with curses, but Ulysses and his friends
plied their oars vigorously, and soon regained their companions.

Ulysses next arrived at the island of AEolus.  To this monarch
Jupiter had intrusted the government of the winds, to send them
forth or retain them at his will.  He treated Ulysses hospitably,
and at his departure gave him, tied up in a leathern bag with a
silver string, such winds as might be hurtful and dangerous,
commanding fair winds to blow the barks towards their country.
Nine days they sped before the wind, and all that time Ulysses
had stood at the helm, without sleep.  At last quite exhausted he
lay down to sleep.  While he slept, the crew conferred together
about the mysterious bag, and concluded it must contain treasures
given by the hospitable King AEolus to their commander.  Tempted
to secure some portion for themselves they loosed the string,
when immediately the winds rushed forth.  The ships were driven
far from their course, and back again to the island they had just
left.  AEolus was so indignant at their folly that he refused to
assist them further, and they were obliged to labor over their
course once more by means of their oars.


The next adventure was with the barbarous tribe of
Laestrygonians.  The vessels pushed into the harbor, tempted by
the secure appearance of the cove, completely land-locked;
Ulysses alone moored his vessel without.  As soon as the
Laestrygonians found the ships completely in their power they
attacked them, having huge stones which broke and overturned
them, and with their spears dispatched the seamen as they
struggled in the water.  All the vessels with their crews were
destroyed, except Ulysses' own ship which had remained outside,
and finding no safety but in flight, he exhorted his men to ply
their oars vigorously, and they escaped.

With grief for their slain companions mixed with joy at their own
escape, they pursued their way till they arrived at the Aeaean
isle, where dwelt Circe, the daughter of the sun.  Landing here
Ulysses climbed a hill, and gazing round saw no signs of
habitation except in one spot at the centre of the island, where
he perceived a palace embowered with trees.  He sent forward one-
half of his crew, under the command of Eurylochus, to see what
prospect of hospitality they might find.  As they approached the
palace, they found themselves surrounded by lions, tigers and
wolves, not fierce, but tamed by Circe's art, for she was a
powerful magician.  All these animals had once been men, but had
been changed by Circe's enchantments into the forms of beasts.
The sounds of soft music were heard from within, and a sweet
female voice singing.  Eurylochus called aloud and the goddess
came forth and invited them in.  They all gladly entered except
Eurylochus, who suspected danger.  The goddess conducted her
guests to a seat, and had them served with wine and other
delicacies.  When they had feasted heartily, she touched them one
by one with her wand, and they became immediately changed into
SWINE, in "head, body, voice and bristles," yet with their
intellects as before.  She shut them in her sties, and supplied
them with acorns and such other things as swine love.

Eurylochus hurried back to the ship and told the tale.  Ulysses
thereupon determined to go himself, and try if by any means he
might deliver his companions.  As he strode onward alone, he met
a youth who addressed him familiarly, appearing to be acquainted
with his adventures.  He announced himself as Mercury, and
informed Ulysses of the arts of Circe, and of the danger of
approaching her.  As Ulysses was not to be dissuaded from his
attempts, Mercury provided him with a sprig of the plant Moly, of
wonderful power to resist sorceries, and instructed him how to
act.  Ulysses proceeded, and reaching the palace was courteously
received by Circe, who entertained him as she had done his
companions, and after he had eaten and drank, touched him with
her wand, saying, "Hence seek the sty and wallow with thy
friends."  But he, instead of obeying, drew his sword and rushed
upon her with fury in his countenance.   She fell on her knees
and begged for mercy.  He dictated a solemn oath that she would
release his companions and practise no further against him or
them; and she repeated it, at the same time promising to dismiss
them all in safety after hospitably entertaining them.  She was
as good as her word.  The men were restored to their shapes, the
rest of the crew summoned from the shore, and the whole
magnificently entertained day after day, till Ulysses seemed to
have forgotten his native land, and to have reconciled himself to
an inglorious life of ease and pleasure.

At length his companions recalled him to nobler sentiments, and
he received their admonition gratefully.  Circe aided their
departure, and instructed them how to pas safely by the coast of
the Sirens.  The Sirens were Sea-nymphs who had the power of
charming by their song all who had heard them, so that the
unhappy mariners were irresistibly impelled to cast themselves
into the sea to their destruction.  Circe directed Ulysses to
fill the ears of his seamen with wax, so that they should not
hear the strain; and to cause himself to be bound to the mast,
and his people to be strictly enjoined, whatever he might say or
do, by no means to release him till they should have passed the
Sirens' island.  Ulysses obeyed these directions.  He filled the
ears of his people with wax, and suffered them to bind him with
cords firmly to the mast.  As they approached the Sirens' island,
the sea was calm, and over the waters came the notes of music so
ravishing and attractive, that Ulysses struggled to get loose,
and by cries and signs to his people, begged to be released; but
they, obedient to his previous orders, sprang forward and bound
him still faster.  They held on their course, and the music grew
fainter till it ceased to be heard, when with joy Ulysses gave
his companions the signal to unseal their ears, and they relieved
him from his bonds.

The imagination of a modern poet, Keats, has discovered for us
the thoughts that passed through the brains of the victims of
Circe, after their transformation.  In his Endymion he represents
one of them, a monarch in the guise of an elephant, addressing
the sorceress in human language thus:

"I sue not for my happy crown again;
I sue not for my phalanx on the plain;
I sue not for my lone, my widowed wife;
I sue not for my ruddy drops of life,
My children fair, my lovely girls and boys;
I will forget them; I will pass these joys,
Ask nought so heavenward; so too   too high;
Only I pray, as fairest boon, to die;
To be delivered from this cumbrous flesh,
>From this gross, detestable, filthy mesh,
And merely given to the cold, bleak air.
Have mercy, goddess!  Circe, feel my prayer!"


Ulysses had been warned by Circe of the two monsters Scylla and
Charybdis.  We have already met with Scylla in the story of
Glaucus, and remember that she was once a beautiful maiden and
was changed into a snaky monster by Circe.  She dwelt in a cave
high up on the cliff, from whence she was accustomed to thrust
forth her long necks for she had six heads, and in each of her
mouths to seize one of the crew of every vessel passing within
reach.  The other terror, Charybdis, was a gulf, nearly on a
level with the water.  Thrice each day the water rushed into a
frightful chasm, and thrice was disgorged.  Any vessel coming
near the whirlpool when the tide was rushing in must inevitably
by ingulfed; not Neptune himself could save it.

On approaching the haunt of the dread monsters, Ulysses kept
strict watch to discover them.  The roar of the waters as
Charybdis ingulfed them, gave warning at a distance, but Scylla
could nowhere be discerned.  While Ulysses and his men watched
with anxious eyes the dreadful whirlpool, they were not equally
on their guard from the attack of Scylla, and the monster darting
forth her snaky heads, caught six of his men, and bore them away
shrieking to her den.  It was the saddest sight Ulysses had yet
seen; to behold his friends thus sacrificed and hear their cries,
unable to afford them any assistance.

Circe had warned him of another danger.  After passing Scylla and
Charybdis, the next land he would make was Trinakria, an island
whereon were pastured the cattle of Hyperion, the Sun, tended by
his daughters Lampetia and Phaethusa.  These flocks must not be
violated, whatever the wants of the voyagers might be.  If this
injunction were transgressed, destruction was sure to fall on the

Ulysses would willingly have passed the island of the Sun without
stopping, but his companions so urgently pleaded for the rest and
refreshment that would be derived from anchoring and passing the
night on shore, that Ulysses yielded.  He bound them, however,
with an oath that they would not touch one of the animals of the
sacred flocks and herds, but content themselves with what
provision they yet had left of the supply which Circe had put on
board.  So long as this supply lasted the people kept their oath,
but contrary winds detained them at the island for a month, and
after consuming all their stock of provisions, they were forced
to rely upon the birds and fishes they could catch.  Famine
pressed them, and at length one day, in the absence of Ulysses,
they slew some of the cattle, vainly attempting to make amends
for the deed by offering from them a portion to the offended
powers.  Ulysses, on his return to the shore, was horror-struck
at perceiving what they had done, and the more so on account of
the portentous signs which followed.  The skins crept on the
ground, and the joints of meat lowed on the spits while roasting.

The wind becoming fair they sailed from the island.  They had not
gone far when the weather changed, and a storm of thunder and
lightning ensued.  A stroke of lightning shattered their mast,
which in its fall killed the pilot.  At last the vessel itself
came to pieces.  The keel and mast floating side by side, Ulysses
formed of them a raft, to which he clung, and, the wind changing,
the waves bore him to Calypso's island.  All the rest of the crew

The following allusion to the stories we have just been relating
is from Milton's Comus, line 252:

"I have often heard
My mother Circe and the Sirens three,
Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
Culling their potent herbs and baneful drugs,
Who as they sung would take the prisoned soul
And lap it in Elysium.  Scylla wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention.
And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause."

Scylla and Charybdis have become proverbial, to denote opposite
dangers which beset one's course.


Calypso was a sea-nymph. One of that numerous class of female
divinities of lower rank than the gods, yet sharing many of their
attributes.  Calypso received Ulysses hospitably, entertained him
magnificently, became enamored of him, and wished to retain him
forever, conferring on him immortality.  But he persisted in his
resolution to return to his country and his wife and son.
Calypso at last received a command from Jove to dismiss him.
Mercury brought the message to her, and found her in her grotto,
which is thus described by Homer:

"A garden vine, luxuriant on all sides,
Mantled the spacious cavern, cluster-hung
Profuse; four fountains of serenest lymph,
Their sinuous course pursuing side by side,
Strayed all around, and every where appeared
Meadows of softest verdure purpled o'er
With violets; it was a scene to fill
A god from heaven with wonder and delight."

Calypso with much reluctance proceeded to obey the commands of
Jupiter. She supplied Ulysses with the means of constructing a
raft, provisioned it well for him, and gave him a favoring gale.
He sped on his course prosperously for many days, till at length,
when in sight of land, a storm arose that broke his mast, and
threatened to rend the raft asunder.  In this crisis he was seen
by a compassionate sea-nymph, who in the form of a cormorant
alighted on the raft, and presented him a girdle, directing him
to bind it beneath his breast, and if he should be compelled to
trust himself to the waves, it would buoy him up and enable him
by swimming to reach the land.

Fenelon, in his romance of Telemachus, has given us the
adventures of the son of Ulysses in search of his father.  Among
other places at which he arrived, following on his father's
footsteps, was Calypso's isle, and, as in the former case, the
goddess tried every art to keep him with her, and offered to
share her immortality with him.  But Minerva, who, in the shape
of Mentor, accompanied him and governed all his movements, made
him repel her allurements, and when no other means of escape
could be found, the two friends leaped from a cliff into the sea,
and swam to a vessel which lay becalmed off shore.  Byron alludes
to this leap of Telemachus and Mentor in the following stanza:

"But not in silence pass Calypso's isles,
The sister tenants of the middle deep;
There for the weary still a haven smiles,
Though the fair goddess long has ceased to weep,
And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep
For him who dared prefer a mortal bride.
Here too his boy essayed the dreadful leap,
Stern Mentor urged from high to yonder tide;
While thus of both bereft the nymph-queen doubly sighed."

Chapter XXIII
The Odyssey (continued)


Ulysses clung to the raft while any of its timbers kept together,
and when it no longer yielded him support, binding the girdle
around him, he swam.  Minerva smoothed the billows before him and
sent him a wind that rolled the waves towards the shore.  The
surf beat high on the rocks and seemed to forbid approach; but at
length finding calm water at the mouth of a gentle stream, he
landed, spent with toil, breathless and speechless and almost
dead.  After some time reviving, he kissed the soil, rejoicing,
yet at a loss what course to take.  At a short distance he
perceived a wood, to which he turned his steps.  There finding a
covert sheltered by intermingling branches alike from the sun and
the rain, he collected a pile of leaves and formed a bed, on
which he stretched himself, and heaping the leaves over him, fell

The land where he was thrown was Scheria, the country of the
Phaecians.  These people dwelt originally near the Cyclopes; but
being oppressed by that savage race, they migrated to the isle of
Scheria, under the conduct of Nausithous their king.  They were,
the poet tells us, a people akin to the gods, who appeared
manifestly and feasted among them when they offered sacrifices,
and did not conceal themselves from solitary wayfarers when they
met them.  They had abundance of wealth and lived in the
enjoyment of it undisturbed by the alarms of war, for as they
dwelt remote from gain-seeking man, no enemy ever approached
their shores, and they did not even require to make use of bows
and quivers.  Their chief employment was navigation.  Their
ships, which went with the velocity of birds, were endued with
intelligence; they knew every port and needed no pilot.
Alcinous, the son of Nausithous, was now their king, a wise and
just sovereign, beloved by his people.

Now it happened that the very night on which Ulysses was cast
ashore on the Phaeacian island, and while he lay sleeping on his
bed of leaves, Nausicaa, the daughter of the king, had a dream
sent by Minerva, reminding her that her wedding-day was not far
distant, and that it would be but a prudent preparation for that
event to have a general washing of the clothes of the family.
This was no slight affair, for the fountains were at some
distance and the garments must be carried thither.  On awaking,
the princess hastened to her parents to tell them what was on her
mind; not alluding to her wedding-day, but finding other reasons
equally good.  Her father readily assented and ordered the grooms
to furnish forth a wagon for the purpose.  The clothes were put
therein, and the queen mother placed in the wagon, likewise an
abundant supply of food and wine.  The princess took her seat and
plied the lash, her attendant virgins following her on foot.
Arrived at the river side they turned out the mules to graze, and
unloading the carriage, bore the garments down to the water, and
working with cheerfulness and alacrity soon dispatched their
labor.  Then having spread the garments on the shore to dry, and
having themselves bathed, they sat down to enjoy their meal;
after which they rose and amused themselves with a game of ball,
the princess singing to them while they played.  But when they
had refolded the apparel and were about to resume their way to
the town, Minerva caused the ball thrown by the princess to fall
into the water, whereat they all screamed, and Ulysses awaked at
the sound.

Now we must picture to ourselves Ulysses, a shipwrecked mariner,
but just escaped from the waves, and utterly destitute of
clothing, awaking and discovering that only a few bushes were
interposed between him and a group of young maidens, whom, by
their deportment and attire, he discovered to be not mere peasant
girls, but of a higher class.  Sadly needing help, how could he
yet venture, naked as he was, to discover himself and make his
wants known?  It certainly was a case worthy of the interposition
of his patron goddess Minerva, who never failed him at a crisis.
Breaking off a leafy branch from a tree, he held it before him
and stepped out from the thicket.  The virgins, at sight of him,
fled in all directions, Nausicaa alone excepted, for Minerva
aided and endowed her with courage and discernment.  Ulysses,
standing respectfully aloof, told his sad case, and besought the
fair object (whether queen or goddess he professed he knew not)
for food and clothing.  The princess replied courteously,
promising present relief and her father's hospitality when he
should become acquainted with the facts.  She called back her
scattered maidens, chiding their alarm, and reminding them that
the Phaeacians had no enemies to fear.  This man, she told them,
was an unhappy wanderer, whom it was a duty to cherish, for the
poor and stranger are from Jove.  She bade them bring food and
clothing, for some of her brothers' garments were among the
contents of the wagon.  When this was done, and Ulysses, retiring
to a sheltered place, had washed his body free from the sea-foam,
clothed and refreshed himself with food, Pallas dilated his form
and diffused grace over his ample chest and manly brows.

The princess, seeing him, was filled with admiration, and
scrupled not to say to her damsels that she wished the gods would
send her such a husband.  To Ulysses she recommended that he
should repair to the city, following herself and train so far as
the way lay through the fields; but when they should approach the
city she desired that he would no longer be seen in her company,
for she feared the remarks which rude and vulgar people might
make on seeing her return accompanied by such a gallant stranger;
to avoid which she directed him to stop at a grove adjoining the
city, in which were a farm and garden belonging to the king.
After allowing time for the princess and her companions to reach
the city, he was then to pursue his way thither, and would be
easily guided by any he might meet to the royal abode.

Ulysses obeyed the directions, and in due time proceeded to the
city, on approaching which he met a young woman bearing a pitcher
forth for water.  It was Minerva, who had assumed that form.
Ulysses accosted her, and desired to be directed to the palace of
Alcinous the king.  The maiden replied respectfully, offering to
be his guide; for the palace, she informed him, stood near her
father's dwelling.  Under the guidance of the goddess, and by her
power enveloped in a cloud which shielded him from observation,
Ulysses passed among the busy crowd, and with wonder observed
their harbor, their ships, their forum (the resort of heroes),
and their battlements, till they came to the palace, where the
goddess, having first given him some information of the country,
king, and people he was about to meet, left him.  Ulysses, before
entering the courtyard of the palace, stood and surveyed the
scene.  Its splendor astonished him.  Brazen walls stretched from
the entrance to the interior house, of which the doors were gold,
the door-posts silver, the lintels silver ornamented with gold.
On either side were figures of mastiffs wrought in gold and
silver, standing in rows as if to guard the approach.  Along the
walls were seats spread through all their length with mantles of
finest texture, the work of Phaeacian maidens.  On these seats
the princes sat and feasted, while golden statues of graceful
youths held in their hands lighted torches, which shed radiance
over the scene.  Full fifty female menials served in household
offices, some employed to grind the corn, others to wind off the
purple wool or ply the loom.   For the Phaeacian women as far
exceeded all other women in household arts as the mariners of
that country did the rest of mankind in the management of ships.
Without the court a spacious garden lay, in which grew many a
lofty tree, pomegranate, pear, apple, fig, and olive.  Neither
winter's cold nor summer's drought arrested their growth, but
they flourished in constant succession, some budding while others
were maturing.  The vineyard was equally prolific.  In one
quarter you might see the vines, some in blossom, some loaded
with ripe grapes, and in another observe the vintagers treading
the wine-press.  On the garden's borders flowers of every hue
bloomed all the year round, arranged with neatest art.  In the
midst two fountains poured forth their waters, one flowing by
artificial channels over all the garden, the other conducted
through the courtyard of the palace, whence every citizen might
draw his supplies.

Ulysses stood gazing in admiration, unobserved himself, for the
cloud which Minerva spread around him still shielded him.  At
length, having sufficiently observed the scene, he advanced with
rapid step into the hall where the chiefs and senators were
assembled, pouring libation to Mercury, whose worship followed
the evening meal.  Just then Minerva dissolved the cloud and
disclosed him to the assembled chiefs.  Advancing toward the
queen, he knelt at her feet and implored her favor and assistance
to enable him to return to his native country.  Then withdrawing,
he seated himself in the manner of suppliants, at the hearth-

For a time none spoke.  At last an aged statesman, addressing the
king, said, "It is not fit that a stranger who asks our
hospitality should be kept waiting in suppliant guise, none
welcoming him.  Let him therefore be led to a seat among us and
supplied with food and wine."  At these words the king rising
gave his hand to Ulysses and led him to a seat, displacing thence
his own son to make room for the stranger.  Food and wine were
set before him and he ate and refreshed himself.

The king then dismissed his guests, notifying them that the next
day he would call them to council to consider what had best be
done for the stranger.

When the guests had departed and Ulysses was left alone with the
king and queen, the queen asked him who he was and whence he
came, and (recognizing the clothes which he wore as those which
her maidens and herself had made) from whom he received his
garments.  He told them of his residence in Calypso's isle and
his departure thence; of the wreck of his raft, his escape by
swimming, and of the relief afforded by the princess.  The
parents heard approvingly, and the king promised to furnish him a
ship in which he might return to his own land.

The next day the assembled chiefs confirmed the promise of the
king.  A bark was prepared and a crew of stout rowers selected,
and all betook themselves to the palace, where a bounteous repast
was provided.   After the feast the king proposed that the young
men should show their guest their proficiency in manly sports,
and all went forth to the arena for games of running, wrestling,
and other exercises.  After all had done their best, Ulysses
being challenged to show what he could do, at first declined, but
being taunted by one of the youths, seized a quoit of weight far
heavier than any the Phaeacians had thrown, and sent it farther
than the utmost throw of theirs.  All were astonished, and viewed
their guest with greatly increased respect.

After the games they returned to the hall, and the herald led in
Demodocus, the blind bard,

"Dear to the Muse,
Who yet appointed him both good and ill,
Took from him sight, but gave him strains divine."

He took for his theme the wooden horse, by means of which the
Greeks found entrance into Troy.  Apollo inspired him, and he
sang so feelingly of the terrors and the exploits of that
eventful time that all were delighted, but Ulysses was moved to
tears.  Observing which, Alcinous, when the song was done,
demanded of him why at the mention of troy his sorrows awaked.
Had he lost there a father or brother, or any dear friend?
Ulysses in reply announced himself by his true name, and at their
request, recounted the adventures which had befallen him since
his departure from Troy.  This narrative raised the sympathy and
admiration of the Phaeacians for their guest to the highest
pitch.  The king proposed that each chief should present him with
a gift, himself setting the example.  They obeyed, and vied with
one another in loading the illustrious stranger with costly

The next day Ulysses set sail in the Phaeacian vessel, and in a
short time arrived safe at Ithaca, his own island.  When the
vessel touched the strand he was asleep.  The mariners, without
waking him, carried him on shore, and landed with him the chest
containing his presents, and then sailed away.

But Neptune was displeased at the conduct of the Phaeacians in
thus rescuing Ulysses from his hands.  In revenge, on the return
of the vessel to port, he transformed it into a rock, right
opposite the mouth of the harbor.

Homer's description of the ships of the Phaeacians has been
thought to look like an anticipation of the wonders of modern
steam navigation.  Alcinous says to Ulysses,

"Say from what city, from what regions tossed,
And what inhabitants those regions boast?
So shalt thou quickly reach the realm assigned,
In wondrous ships, self-moved, instinct with mind;
No helm secures their course, no pilot guides;
Like man intelligent they plough the tides,
Conscious of every coast and every bay
That lies beneath the sun's all-seeing ray."
Odyssey, Book VIII

Lord Carlisle, in his Diary in the Turkish and Greek Waters, thus
speaks of Corfu, which he considers to be the ancient Phaeacian

"The sites explain the Odyssey.  The temple of the sea-god could
not have been more fitly placed, upon a grassy platform of the
most elastic turf, on the brow of a crag commanding harbor, and
channel, and ocean.  Just at the entrance of the inner harbor
there is a picturesque rock with a small convent perched atop it,
which by one legend is the transformed pinnace of Ulysses.

"Almost the only river in the island is just at the proper
distance from the probable site of the city and palace of the
king, to justify the princess Nausicaa having had resort to her
chariot and to luncheon when she went with the maidens of the
court to wash their garments."


It was now twenty years that Ulysses had been away from Ithaca,
and when he awoke he did not recognize his native land.  But
Minerva, appearing to him in the form of a young shepherd,
informed him where he was, and told him the state of things at
his palace.  More than a hundred nobles of Ithaca and of the
neighboring islands had been for years suing for the hand of
Penelope, his wife, imagining him dead, and lording it over his
palace and people, as if they were owners of both.  That he might
be able to take vengeance upon them, it was important that he
should not be recognized.  Minerva accordingly metamorphosed him
into an unsightly beggar, and as such he was kindly received by
Eumaeus, the swine-herd, a faithful servant of his house.

Telemachus, his son, was absent in quest of his father.  He had
gone to the courts of the other kings, who had returned from the
Trojan expedition.  While on the search, he received counsel from
Minerva to return home.  Arriving at Ithaca, he sought Eumaeus to
learn something of the state of affairs at the palace before
presenting himself among the suitors.  Finding a stranger with
Eumaeus, he treated him courteously, though in the garb of a
beggar, and promised him assistance.  Eumaeus was sent to the
palace to inform Penelope privately of her son's arrival, for
caution was necessary with regard to the suitors, who, as
Telemachus had learned, were plotting to intercept and kill him.
When Eumaeus was gone, Minerva presented herself to Ulysses, and
directed him to make himself known to his son.  At the same time
she touched him, removed at once from him the appearance of age
and penury, and gave him the aspect of vigorous manhood that
belonged to him.  Telemachus viewed him with astonishment, and at
first thought he must be more than mortal.  But Ulysses announced
himself as his father, and accounted for the change of appearance
by explaining that it was Minerva's doing.

"Then threw Telemachus
His arms around his father's neck and wept,
Desire intense of lamentation seized
On both; soft murmurs uttering, each indulged
His grief."

The father and son took counsel together how they should get the
better of the suitors and punish them for their outrages.  It was
arranged that Telemachus should proceed to the palace and mingle
with the suitors as formerly; that Ulysses should go also, as a
beggar, a character which in the rude old times had different
privileges from those we concede to it now.  As traveller and
story-teller, the beggar was admitted in the halls of chieftains,
and often treated like a guest; though sometimes, also, no doubt,
with contumely.  Ulysses charged his son not to betray, by any
display of unusual interest in him, that he knew him to be other
than he seemed, and even if he saw him insulted, or beaten, not
to interpose otherwise than he might do for any stranger.

At the palace they found the usual scene of feasting and riot
going on.  The suitors pretended to receive Telemachus with joy
at his return, though secretly mortified at the failure of their
plots to take his life.  The old beggar was permitted to enter,
and provided with a portion from the table.  A touching incident
occurred as Ulysses entered the court-yard of the palace.  An old
dog lay in the yard almost dead with age, and seeing a stranger
enter, raised his head, with ears erect.  It was Argus, Ulysses'
own dog, that he had in other days often led to the chase.

"Soon he perceived
Long-lost Ulysses nigh, down fell his ears
Clapped close, and with his tail glad signs he gave
Of gratulation, impotent to rise,
And to approach his master as of old.
Ulysses, noting him, wiped off a tear
. . .  Then his destiny released
Old Argus, soon as he had lived to see
Ulysses in the twentieth year restored."

As Ulysses sat eating his portion in the hall, the suitors soon
began to exhibit their insolence to him.  When he mildly
remonstrated, one of them raised a stool and with it gave him a
blow.  Telemachus had hard work to restrain his indignation at
seeing his father so treated in his own hall, but remembering his
father's injunctions, said no more than what became him as master
of the house and protector of his guests.

Penelope had protracted her decision in favor of any one of her
suitors so long, that there seemed to be no further pretence for
delay.  The continued absence of her husband seemed to prove that
his return was no longer to be expected.  Meanwhile her son had
grown up, and was able to manage his own affairs.  She therefore
consented to submit the question of her choice to a trial of
skill among the suitors.  The test selected was shooting with the
bow.  Twelve rings were arranged in a line, and he whose arrow
was sent through the whole twelve, was to have the queen for his
prize.  A bow that one of his brother heroes had given to Ulysses
in former times, was brought from the armory, and with its quiver
full of arrows was laid in the hall.   Telemachus had taken care
that all other weapons should be removed, under pretence that in
the heat of competition, there was danger, in some rash moment,
of putting them to an improper use.

All things being prepared for the trial, the first thing to be
done was to bend the bow in order to attach the string.
Telemachus endeavored to do it, but found all his efforts
fruitless; and modestly confessing that he had attempted a task
beyond his strength, he yielded the bow to another.  HE tried it
with no better success, and, amidst the laughter and jeers of his
companions, gave it up.  Another tried it and another; they
rubbed the bow with tallow, but all to no purpose; it would not
bend.  Then spoke Ulysses, humbly suggesting that he should be
permitted to try; for, said he, "beggar as I am, I was once a
soldier, and there is still some strength in these old limbs of
mine."  The suitors hooted with derision, and commanded to turn
him out of the hall for his insolence.  But Telemachus spoke up
for him, and merely to gratify the old man, bade him try.
Ulysses took the bow, and handled it with the hand of a master.
With ease he adjusted the cord to its notch, then fitting an
arrow to the bow he drew the string and sped the arrow unerring
through the rings.

Without allowing them time to express their astonishment, he
said, "Now for another mark!" and aimed direct at the most
insolent one of the suitors. The arrow pierced through his throat
and he fell dead.  Telemachus, Eumaeus, and another faithful
follower, well armed, now sprang to the side of Ulysses.  The
suitors, in amazement, looked round for arms but found none,
neither was there any way of escape, for Eumaeus had secured the
door.  Ulysses left them not long in uncertainty; he announced
himself as the long-lost chief, whose house they had invaded,
whose substance they had squandered, whose wife and son they had
persecuted for ten long years; and told them he meant to have
ample vengeance.  All the suitors were slain, except Phemius the
bard and Medon the herald, and Ulysses was left master of his own
palace and possessor of his kingdom and his wife.

Among Schiller's works is the following epigram on Ulysses:

"To gain his home all oceans he explored;
Here Scylla frowned, and there Charybdis roared;
Horror on sea, and horror on the land,
In hell's dark boat he sought the spectre land,
Till borne   a slumberer   to his native spot,
He woke, and sorrowing, knew his country not."
Sir Edward Bulwer"s translation

Tennyson's poem of Ulysses represents the old hero, after his
dangers past and nothing left but to stay at home and be happy,
growing tired of inaction and resolving to set forth again in
quest of new adventures.

"Come my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles whom we knew,
Tho'much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Chapter XXIV
Adventures of AEneas   The Harpies   Dido   Palinurus

We have followed one of the Grecian heroes, Ulysses, in his
wanderings, on his return home from Troy, and now we propose to
share the fortunes of the remnant of the conquered people, under
their chief AEneas, in their search for a new home, after the
ruin of their native city.  On that fatal night when the wooden
horse disgorged its contents of armed men, and the capture and
conflagration of the city were the result, Aeneas made his escape
from the scene of destruction with his father, and his wife, and
young son.  The father, Anchises, was woo old to walk with the
speed required, and AEneas took him upon his shoulders.  Thus
burdened, leading his son and followed by his wife, he made the
best of his way out of the burning city; but in the confusion,
his wife was swept away and lost.

On arriving at the place of rendezvous, numerous fugitives, of
both sexes, were found, who put themselves under the guidance of
Aeneas.  Some months were spent in preparation and at length they
embarked.  They first landed on the neighboring shores of Thrace,
and were preparing to build a city, but AEneas was deterred by a
prodigy.  Preparing to offer sacrifice, he tore some twigs from
one of the bushes.  To his dismay the wounded part dropped blood.
When he repeated the act, a voice from the ground cried out to
him, "Spare me, AEneas; I am your kinsman, Polydore, here
murdered with many arrows, from which a bush has grown, nourished
with my blood."  These words recalled to the recollection of
AEneas that Polydore was a young prince of Troy, whom his father
had sent with ample treasures to the neighboring land of Thrace,
to be there brought up, at a distance from the horrors of war.
The king to whom he was sent had murdered him, and seized his
treasures.  AEneas and his companions hastened away, considering
the land to be accursed by the stain of such a crime.

They next landed on the island of Delos, which was once a
floating island, till Jupiter fastened it by adamantine chains to
the bottom of the sea.  Apollo and Diana were born there, and the
island was sacred to Apollo.  Here AEneas consulted the oracle of
Apollo, and received an answer, as ambiguous as usual   "Seek
your ancient mother; there the race of AEneas shall dwell, and
reduce all other nations to their sway."  The Trojans heard with
joy, and immediately began to ask one another, "Where is the spot
intended by the oracle?"  Anchises remembered that there was a
tradition that their forefathers came from Crete, and thither
they resolved to steer.  They arrived at Crete, and began to
build their city, but sickness broke out among them, and the
fields that they had planted failed to yield a crop.  In this
gloomy aspect of affairs, AEneas was warned in a dream to leave
the country, and seek a western land, called Hesperia, whence
Dardanus, the true founder of the Trojan race, had originally
migrated.  To Hesperia, now called Italy, therefore, they
directed their future course, and not till after many adventures
and the lapse of time sufficient to carry a modern navigator
several times round the world, did they arrive there.

Their first landing was at the island of the Harpies:

"__________The daughters of the earth and sea,
The dreadful snatchers, who like women were
Down to the breast, with scanty coarse black hair
About their heads, and dim eyes ringed with red,
And bestial mouths set round with lips of lead,
But from their gnarled necks there began to spring
Half hair, half feathers, and a sweeping wing
Grew out instead of arm on either side,
And thick plumes underneath the breast did hide
The place where joined the fearful natures twain.
Gray-feathered were they else, with many a stain
Of blood thereon, and on birds' claws they went.
Morris: Life and Death of Jason

The Harpies had been sent by the gods to torment a certain
Phineus, whom Jupiter had deprived of his sight in punishment of
his cruelty; and whenever a meal was placed before him, the
Harpies darted down from the air and carried it off.  They were
driven away from Phineus by the heroes of the Argonautic
expedition, and took refuge in the island where AEneas now found

When they entered the port the Trojans saw herds of cattle
roaming over the plain.  They slew as many as they wished, and
prepared for a feast.  But no sooner had they seated themselves
at the table, than a horrible clamor was heard in the air, and a
flock of odious Harpies came rushing down upon them, seizing in
their talons the meat from the dishes, and flying away with it.
AEneas and his companions drew their swords and dealt vigorous
blows among the monsters, but to no purpose, for they were so
nimble it was almost impossible to hit them, and their feathers
were like armor impenetrable to steel.  One of them, perched on a
neighboring cliff, screamed out, "Is it thus, Trojans, you treat
us innocent birds, first slaughter our cattle, and then make war
on ourselves?"  She then predicted dire sufferings to them in
their future course, and having vented her wrath flew away.  The
Trojans made haste to leave the country, and next found
themselves coasting along the shore of Epirus.  Here they landed,
and to their astonishment learned that certain Trojan exiles, who
had been carried there as prisoners, had become rulers of the
country.  Andromache, the widow of Hector, became the wife of one
of the victorious Grecian chiefs, to whom she bore a son.  Her
husband dying, she was left regent of the country, as guardian of
her son, and had married a fellow-captive, Helenus, of the royal
race of Troy.  Helenus and Andromache treated the exiles with the
utmost hospitality, and dismissed them loaded with gifts.

>From hence AEneas coasted along the shore of Sicily, and passed
the country of Cyclopes.  Here they were hailed from the shore by
a miserable object, whom by his garments, tattered as they were,
they perceived to be a Greek.  He told them he was one of
Ulysses' companions, left behind by that chief in his hurried
departure.  He related the story of Ulysses' adventure with
Polyphemus, and besought them to take him off with them, as he
had no means of sustaining his existence where he was, but wild
berries and roots, and lived in constant fear of the Cyclopes.
While he spoke Polyphemus made his appearance; a terrible
monster, shapeless, vast, whose only eye had been put out.  He
walked with cautious steps, feeling his way with a staff, down to
the sea-side, to wash his eye-socket in the waves.  When he
reached the water, he waded out towards them, and his immense
height enabled him to advance far into the sea, so that the
Trojans, in terror, took to their oars to get out of his way.
Hearing the oars, Polyphemus shouted after them, so that the
shores resounded, and at the noise the other Cyclopes came forth
from their caves and woods, and lined the shore, like a row of
lofty pine trees.  The Trojans plied their oars, and soon left
them out of sight.

AEneas had been cautioned by Helenus to avoid the strait guarded
by the monsters Scylla and Charybdis.  There Ulysses, the reader
will remember, had lost six of his men, seized by Scylla, while
the navigators were wholly intent upon avoiding Charybdis.
AEneas, following the advice of Helenus, shunned the dangerous
pass and coasted along the island of Sicily.

Juno, seeing the Trojans speeding their way prosperously towards
their destined shore, felt her old grudge against them revive,
for she could not forget the slight that Paris had put upon her,
in awarding the prize of beauty to another.  In heavenly minds
can such resentments dwell!  Accordingly she hastened to AEolus,
the ruler of the winds,   the same who supplied Ulysses with
favoring gales, giving him the contrary ones tied up in a bag.
AEolus obeyed the goddess and sent forth his sons, Boreas, Typhon
and the other winds, to toss the ocean.  A terrible storm ensued,
and the Trojan ships were driven out of their course towards the
coast of Africa.  They were in imminent danger of being wrecked,
and were separated, so that AEneas thought that all were lost
except his own.

At this crisis, Neptune, hearing the storm raging, and knowing
that he had given no orders for one, raised his head above the
waves, and saw the fleet of AEneas driving before the gale.
Knowing the hostility of Juno, he was at no loss to account for
it, but his anger was not the less at this interference in his
province.  He called the winds, and dismissed them with a severe
reprimand.  He then soothed the waves, and brushed away the
clouds from before the face of the sun.  Some of the ships which
had got on the rocks he pried off with his own trident, while
Triton and a sea-nymph, putting their shoulders under others, set
them afloat again.  The Trojans, when the sea became calm, sought
the nearest shore, which was the coast of Carthage, where AEneas
was so happy as to find that one by one the ships all arrived
safe, though badly shaken.

Waller, in his Panegyric to the Lord Protector (Cromwell),
alludes to this stilling of the storm by Neptune:

"Above the waves, as Neptune showed his face,
To chide the winds and save the Trojan race,
So has your Highness, raised above the rest,
Storms of ambition tossing us repressed.."


Carthage, where the exiles had now arrived, was a spot on the
coast of Africa opposite Sicily, where at that time a Tyrian
colony under Dido their queen, were laying the foundations of a
state destined in later ages to be the rival of Rome itself.
Dido was the daughter of Belus, king of Tyre, and sister of
Pygmalion who succeeded his father on the throne.  Her husband
was Sichaeus, a man of immense wealth, but Pygmalion, who coveted
his treasures, caused him to be put to death.  Dido, with a
numerous body of followers, both men and women, succeeded in
effecting their escape from Tyre in several vessels, carrying
with them the treasures of Sichaeus.  On arriving at the spot
which they selected as the seat of their future home, they asked
of the natives only so much land as they could enclose with a
bull's hide.  When this was readily granted, she caused the hide
to be cut into strips, and with them enclosed a spot on which she
built a citadel, and called it Byrsa (a hide).  Around this fort
the city of Carthage rose, and soon became a powerful and
flourishing place.

Such was the state of affairs when AEneas with his Trojans
arrived there.  Dido received the illustrious exiles with
friendliness and hospitality.  "Not unacquainted with distress,"
she said, "I have learned to succor the unfortunate."  The
queen's hospitality displayed itself in festivities at which
games of strength and skill were exhibited.  The strangers
contended for the palm with her own subjects on equal terms, the
queen declaring that whether the victor were "Trojan or Tyrian
should make no difference to her."  At the feast which followed
the games, AEneas gave at her request a recital of the closing
events of the Trojan history and his own adventures after the
fall of the city.  Dido was charmed with his discourse and filled
with admiration of his exploits.  She conceived an ardent passion
for him, and he for his part seemed well content to accept the
fortunate chance which appeared to offer him at once a happy
termination of his wanderings, a home, a kingdom, and a bride.
Months rolled away in the enjoyment of pleasant intercourse, and
it seemed as if Italy and the empire destined to be founded on
its shores were alike forgotten.  Seeing which, Jupiter
dispatched Mercury with a message to AEneas recalling him to a
sense of his high destiny, and commanding him to resume his

AEneas, under this divine command, parted from Dido, though she
tried every allurement and persuasion to detain him.  The blow to
her affection and her pride was too much for her to endure, and
when she found that he was gone, she mounted a funeral-pile which
she had caused to be prepared, and, having stabbed herself, was
consumed with the pile.  The flames rising over the city were
seen by the departing Trojans, and, though the cause was unknown,
gave to AEneas some intimation of the fatal event.

We find in "Elegant Extracts" the following epigram:

>From the Latin

"Unhappy, Dido, was thy fate
In first and second married state!
One husband caused thy flight by dying,
Thy death the other caused by flying."

Dr. Johnson was once challenged to make an epigram on the
syllables di,do,dum.  He immediately replied in these lines:

 "When Dido found Aeneas would not come,
She wept in silence, and was Dido dumb.


After touching at the island of Sicily, where Acestes, a prince
of Trojan lineage, bore sway, who gave them a hospitable
reception, the Trojans re-embarked, and held on their course for
Italy.  Venus now interceded with Neptune to allow her son at
last to attain the wished-for goal, and find an end of his perils
on the deep.  Neptune consented, stipulating only for one life as
a ransom for the rest.  The victim was Palinurus, the pilot.  As
he sat watching the stars, with his hand on the helm, Somnus,
sent by Neptune, approached in the guise of Phorbas and said,
"Palinurus, the breeze is fair, the water smooth, and the ship
sails steadily on her course.  Lie down a while and take needful
rest.  I will stand at the helm in your place."  Palinurus
replied, "Tell me not of smooth seas or favoring winds,   me who
have seen so much of their treachery.  Shall I trust AEneas to
the chances of the weather and winds?"  And he continued to grasp
the helm and to keep his eyes fixed on the stars.  But Somnus
waved over him a branch moistened with Lethaean dew, and his eyes
closed in spite of all his efforts.  Then Somnus pushed him
overboard and he fell; but keeping his hold upon the helm it came
away with him.  Neptune was mindful of his promise, and kept the
ship on her track without helm or pilot, till Aeneas discovered
his loss, and, sorrowing deeply for his faithful steersman, took
charge of the ship himself.

There is a beautiful allusion to the story of Palinurus in
Scott's Marmion, Introduction to Canto I., where the poet,
speaking of the recent death of William Pitt, says:

"Oh, think how, to his latest day,
When death just hovering claimed his prey,
With Palinure's unaltered mood,
Firm at his dangerous post he stood;
Each call for needful rest repelled,
With dying hand the rudder held,
Till in his fall, with fateful sway,
The steerage of the realm gave way."

The ships at last reached the shores of Italy, and joyfully did
the adventurers leap to land.  While his people were employed in
making their encampment AEneas sought the abode of the Sibyl.  It
was a cave connected with a temple and grove, sacred to Apollo
and Diana.  While Aeneas contemplated the scene, the Sibyl
accosted him.  She seemed to know his errand, and under the
influence of the deity of the place burst forth in a prophetic
strain, giving dark intimations of labors and perils through
which he was destined to make his way to final success.  She
closed with the encouraging words which have become proverbial:
"Yield not to disasters, but press onward the more bravely."
AEneas replied that he had prepared himself for whatever might
await him.  He had but one request to make.  Having been directed
in a dream to seek the abode of the dead in order to confer with
his father Anchises to receive from him a revelation of his
future fortunes and those of his race, he asked her assistance to
enable him to accomplish the task.  The Sibyl replied, "The
descent to Avernus is easy; the gate of Pluto stands open night
and day; but to retrace one's steps and return to the upper air,
that is the toil, that the difficulty.  She instructed him to
seek in the forest a tree on which grew a golden branch.  This
branch was to be plucked off, to be borne as a gift to
Proserpine, and if fate was propitious, it would yield to the
hand and quit its parent trunk, but otherwise no force could rend
it away.  If torn away, another would succeed.

AEneas followed the directions of the Sibyl.  His mother Venus
sent two of her doves to fly before him and show him the way, and
by their assistance he found the tree, plucked the branch, and
hastened back with it to the Sibyl.

Chapter XXV
The Infernal Regions   The Sibyl

At the commencement of our series we have given the pagan account
of the creation of the world, so as we approach its conclusion,
we present a view of the regions of the dead, depicted by one of
their most enlightened poets, who drew his doctrines from their
most esteemed philosophers.  The region where Virgil places the
entrance into this abode, is perhaps the most strikingly adapted
to excite ideas of the terrific and preternatural of any on the
face of the earth.  It is the volcanic region near Vesuvius,
where the whole country is cleft with chasms from which
sulphurous flames arise, while the ground is shaken with pent-up
vapors, and mysterious sounds issue from the bowels of the earth.
The lake Avernus is supposed to fill the crater of an extinct
volcano.  It is circular, half a mile wide, and very deep,
surrounded by high banks, which in Virgil's time were covered
with a gloomy forest.  Mephitic vapors rise from its waters, so
that no life is found on its banks, and no birds fly over it.
Here, according to the poet, was the cave which afforded access
to the infernal regions, and here AEneas offered sacrifices to
the infernal deities, Proserpine, Hecate, and the Furies.  Then a
roaring was heard in the earth, the woods on the hill-tops were
shaken, and the howling of dogs announced the approach of the
deities.  "Now," said the Sibyl, "summon up your courage, for you
will need it."  She descended into the cave, and AEneas followed.
Before the threshold of Hades they passed through a group of
beings who are Griefs and avenging Cares, pale Diseases and
melancholy Age, Fear and Hunger that tempt to crime, Toil,
Poverty, and Death, forms horrible to view.  The Furies spread
their couches there, and Discord, whose hair was of vipers tied
up with a bloody fillet.  Here also were the monsters, Briareus
with his hundred arms, Hydras hissing, and Chimaeras breathing
fire.  AEneas shuddered at the sight, drew his sword and would
have struck, had not the Sibyl restrained him.  They then came to
the black river Cocytus, where they found the ferryman, Charon,
old and squalid, but strong and vigorous, who was receiving
passengers of all kinds into his boat, high-souled heroes, boys
and unmarried girls as numerous as the leaves that fall at
autumn, or the flocks that fly southward at the approach of
winter.  They stood pressing for a passage, and longing to touch
the opposite shore.  But the stern ferryman took in only such as
he chose, driving the rest back.  AEneas, wondering at the sight,
asked the Sibyl, "Why this discrimination?: She answered, "Those
who are taken on board the bark are the souls of those who have
received due burial rites; the host of others who have remained
unburied, are not permitted to pass the flood, but wander a
hundred years, and flit to and fro about the shore, till at last
they are taken over."  AEneas grieved at recollecting some of his
own companions who had perished in the storm.  At that moment he
beheld Palinurus, his pilot, who fell overboard and was drowned.
He addressed him and asked him the cause of his misfortune.
Palinurus replied that the rudder was carried away, and he,
clinging to it, was swept away with it.  He besought Aeneas most
urgently to extend to him his hand and take him in company to the
opposite shore.  But the Sibyl rebuked him for the wish thus to
transgress the laws of Pluto, but consoled him by informing him
that the people of the shore where his body had been wafted by
the waves, should be stirred up by the prodigies to give it the
burial, and that the promontory should bear the name of Cape
Palinurus, which it does to this day.  Leaving Palinurus consoled
by these words, they approached the boat.  Charon, fixing his
eyes sternly upon the advancing warrior, demanded by what right
he, living and armed, approached the shore.  To which the Sibyl
replied that they would commit no violence, that AEneas's only
object was to see his father, and finally exhibited the golden
branch, at sight of which Charon's wrath relaxed, and he made
haste to turn his back to the shore, and receive them on board.
The boat, adapted only to the light freight of bodiless spirits,
groaned under the weight of the hero.  They were soon conveyed to
the opposite shore.  There they were encountered by the three-
headed dog Cerberus, with his necks bristling with snakes.  He
barked with all his three throats till the Sibyl threw him a
medicated cake, which he eagerly devoured, and then stretched
himself out in his den and fell asleep.  AEneas and the Sibyl
sprang to land.  The first sound that struck their ears was the
wailing of young children, who had died on the threshold of life,
and near to these were they who had perished under false charges.
Minos presides over them as judge, and examines the deeds of
each.  The next class was of those who had died by their own
hand, hating life and seeking refuge in death.  Oh, how willingly
would they now endure poverty, labor, and any other infliction,
if they might but return to life!  Next were situated the regions
of sadness, divided off into retired paths, leading through
groves of myrtle.  Here roamed those who had fallen victims to
unrequited love, not freed from pain even by death itself.  Among
these, AEneas thought he descried the form of Dido, with a wound
still recent.  In the dim light he was for a moment uncertain,
but approaching perceived it was indeed herself.  Tears fell from
his eyes, and he addressed her in the  accents of love.  "Unhappy
Dido!  Was then the rumor true that you had perished?  And was I,
alas! the cause!  I call the gods to witness that my departure
from you was reluctant, and in obedience to the commands of Jove;
nor could I believe that my absence would have cost you so dear.
Stop, I beseech you, and refuse me not a last farewell."  She
stood for a moment with averted countenance, and eyes fixed on
the ground, and then silently passed on, as insensible to his
pleadings as a rock.   AEneas followed for some distance; then,
with a heavy heart, rejoined his companion and resumed his route.

They next entered the fields where roam the heroes who have
fallen in battle.  Here they saw many shades of Grecian and
Trojan warriors.  The Trojans thronged around him, and could not
be satisfied with the sight.  They asked the cause of his coming,
and plied him with innumerable questions.  But the Greeks, at the
sight of his armor glittering through the murky atmosphere,
recognized the hero, and filled with terror turned their backs
and fled, as they used to flee on the plains of Troy.

AEneas would have lingered long with his Trojan friends but the
Sibyl hurried him away.  They next came to a place where the road
divided, the one leading to Elysium, the other to the regions of
the condemned.  AEneas beheld on one side the walls of a mighty
city, around which Phlegethon rolled its fiery waters.  Before
him was the gate of adamant that neither gods nor men can break
through.   An iron tower stood by the gate, on which Tisiphone,
the avenging Fury, kept guard.  From the city were heard groans,
and the sound of the scourge, the creaking of iron, and the
clanking of chains.  AEneas, horror-struck, inquired of his guide
what crimes were those whose punishments produced the sounds he
hear?   The Sibyl answered, "Here is the judgment-hall of
Rhadamanthus, who brings to light crimes done in life, which the
perpetrator vainly thought impenetrably hid.  Tisiphone applies
her whip of scorpions, and delivers the offender over to her
sister Furies.  At this moment with horrid clang the brazen gates
unfolded, and AEneas saw within, a Hydra with fifty heads,
guarding the entrance.  The Sibyl told him that the Gulf of
Tartarus descended deep, so that its recesses were as far beneath
their feet as heaven was high above their heads.  In the bottom
of this pit, the Titan race, who warred against the gods, lie
prostrate; Salmoneus, also, who presumed to vie with Jupiter, and
built a bridge of brass over which he drove his chariot that the
sound might resemble thunder, launching flaming brands at his
people in imitation of lightning, till Jupiter struck him with a
real thunderbolt, and taught him the difference between mortal
weapons and divine.  Here, also, is Tityus, the giant, whose form
is so immense that as he lies, he stretches over nine acres,
while a vulture preys upon his liver, which as fast as it is
devoured grows again, so that his punishment will have no end.

AEneas saw groups seated at tables loaded with dainties, while
near by stood a Fury who snatched away the viands from their
lips, as fast as they prepared to taste them.  Others beheld
suspended over their heads huge rocks, threatening to fall,
keeping them in a state of constant alarm.  These were they who
had hated their brothers, or struck their parents, or defrauded
the friends who trusted them, or who having grown rich, kept
their money to themselves, and gave no share to others; the last
being the most numerous class.  Here also were those who had
violated the marriage vow, or fought in a bad cause, or failed in
fidelity to their employers.  Here was one who had sold his
country for gold, another who perverted the laws, making them say
one thing today and another tomorrow.

Ixion was there fastened to the circumference of a wheel
ceaselessly revolving; and Sisyphus, whose task was to roll a
huge stone up to a hill-top, but when the steep was well-nigh
gained, the rock, repulsed by some sudden force, rushed again
headlong down to the plain.  Again he toiled at it, while the
sweat bathed all his weary limbs, but all to no effect.  There
was Tantalus, who stood in a pool, his chin level with the water,
yet he was parched with thirst, and found nothing to assuage it;
for when he bowed his hoary head, eager to quaff, the water fled
away, leaving the ground at his feet all dry.  Tall trees laden
with fruit stooped their heads to him, pears, pomegranates,
apples and luscious figs; but when with a sudden grasp he tried
to seize them, winds whirled them high above his reach.

The Sibyl now warned AEneas that it was time to turn from these
melancholy regions and seek the city of the blessed. They passed
through a middle tract of darkness, and came upon the Elysian
fields, the groves where the happy reside.  They breathed a freer
air, and saw all objects clothed in a purple light.  The region
has a sun and stars of its own.  The inhabitants were enjoying
themselves in various ways, some in sports on the grassy turf, in
games of strength or skill, others dancing or singing.  Orpheus
struck the chords of his lyre, and called forth ravishing sounds.
Here AEneas saw the founders of the Trojan state, high-souled
heroes who lived in happier times.  He gazed with admiration on
the war-chariots and glittering arms now reposing in disuse.
Spears stood fixed in the ground, and the horses, unharnessed,
roamed over the plain.  The same pride in splendid armor and
generous steeds which the old heroes felt in life, accompanied
them here.  He saw another group feasting, and listening to the
strains of music.  They were in a laurel grove, whence the great
river Po has its origin, and flows out among men.  Here dwelt
those who fell by wounds received in their country's cause, holy
priests, also, and poets who have uttered thoughts worthy of
Apollo, and others who have contributed to cheer and adorn life
by their discoveries in the useful arts, and have made their
memory blessed by rendering service to mankind.  They wore snow-
white fillets about their brows.  The Sibyl addressed a group of
these, and inquired where Anchises was to be found.  They were
directed where to seek him, and soon found him in a verdant
valley, where he was contemplating the ranks of his posterity,
their destinies and worthy deeds to be achieved in coming times.
When he recognized AEneas approaching, he stretched out both
hands to him, while tears flowed freely.  "Have you come at
last," said he, "long expected and do I behold you after such
perils past?  O my son, how have I trembled for you as I have
watched your career!"  To which AEneas replied, O father!  Your
image was always before me to guide and guard me.  Then he
endeavored to enfold his father in his embrace, but his arms
enclosed only an unsubstantial image.

AEneas perceived before him a spacious valley, with trees gently
waving to the wind, a tranquil landscape, through which the river
Lethe flowed.  Along the banks of the stream wandered a countless
multitude, numerous as insects in the summer air.  AEneas, with
surprise, inquired who were these.  Anchises answered, "They are
souls to which bodies are to be given in due time.  Meanwhile
they dwell on Lethe's bank, and drink oblivion of their former
lives."  "Oh, father!" said AEneas, "is it possible that any can
be so in love with life, as to wish to leave these tranquil seats
for the upper world?"  Anchises replied by explaining the plan of
creation.  The Creator, he told him, originally made the material
of which souls are composed, of the four elements, fire, air,
earth, and water, all which, when united, took the form of the
most excellent part, fire, and became FLAME.  This material was
scattered like seed among the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and
stars.  Of this seed the inferior gods created man and all other
animals, mingling it with various proportions of earth, by which
its purity was alloyed and reduced.  Thus the more earth
predominates in the composition, the less pure is the individual;
and we see men and women with their full-grown bodies have not
the purity of childhood.  So in proportion to the time which the
union of body and soul has lasted, is the impurity contracted by
the spiritual part.  This impurity must be purged away after
death, which is done by ventilating the souls in the current of
winds, or merging them in water, or burning out their impurities
by fire.  Some few, of whom Anchises intimates that he is one,
are admitted at once to Elysium, there to remain.  But the rest,
after the impurities of earth are purged away, are sent back to
life endowed with new bodies, having had the remembrance of their
former lives effectually washed away by the waters of Lethe.
Some, however, there still are, so thoroughly corrupted, that
they are not fit to be entrusted with human bodies, and these are
made into brute animals, lions, tigers, cats, dogs, monkeys, etc.
This is what the ancients called Metempsychosis, or the
transmigration of souls; a doctrine which is still held by the
natives of India, who scruple to destroy the life, even of the
most insignificant animal, not knowing but it may be one of their
relations in an altered form.

Anchises, having explained so much, proceeded to point out to
AEneas individuals of his race, who were hereafter to be born,
and to relate to him the exploits they should perform in the
world.  After this he reverted to the present, and told his son
of the events that remained to him to be accomplished before the
complete establishment of himself and his followers in Italy.
Wars were to be waged, battles fought, a bride to be won, and in
the result a Trojan state founded, from which should rise the
Roman power, to be in time the sovereign of the world.

AEneas and the Sybil then took leave of Anchises, and returned by
some short cut, which the poet does not explain, to the upper

The Egyptian name of Hades was Amenti.  In the Revision of the
Scriptures the Revising Commission has substituted the word Hades
where "hell" was used in the version of King James.


Virgil, we have seen, places his Elysium under the earth, and
assigns it for a residence to the spirits of the blessed.  But in
Homer Elysium forms no part of the realms of the dead.  He places
it on the west of the earth, near Ocean, and described it as a
happy land, where there is neither snow, nor cold, nor rain, and
always fanned by the delightful breezes of Zephyrus.  Hither
favored heroes pass without dying, and live happy under the rule
of Rhadamanthus.  The Elysium of Hesiod and Pindar is in the
Isles of the Blessed, or Fortunate Islands, in the Western Ocean.
>From these sprang the legend of the happy island Atlantis.  This
blissful region may have been wholly imaginary, but possibly may
have sprung from the reports of some storm-driven mariners who
had caught a glimpse of the coast of America.

James Russell Lowell, in one of his shorter poems, claims for the
present age some of the privileges of that happy realm.
Addressing the Past, he says,

"Whatever of true life there was in thee,
Leaps in our age's veins.
.    .    .    .    .    .
"Here, 'mid the bleak waves of our strife and care,
Float the green 'Fortunate Isles,'
Where all thy hero-spirits dwell and share
Our martyrdoms and toils.
The present moves attended
With all of brave and excellent and fair
That made the old time splendid."

Milton alludes to the same fable in Paradise Lost, Book III.,

"Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
Fortunate fields and groves and flowery vales,
Thrice happy isles."

And in Book II. he characterizes the rivers of Erebus according
to the meaning of their names in the Greek language:

"Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate,
Sad Acheron of sorrow black and deep;
Cocytus named of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Far off from these a slow and silent stream.
Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks
Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain."


As AEneas and the Sibyl pursued their way back to earth, he said
to her, "Whether thou be a goddess or a mortal beloved by the
gods, by me thou shalt always be held in reverence.  When I reach
the upper air, I will cause a temple to be built to thy honor,
and will myself bring offerings."  "I am no goddess," said the
Sibyl; "I have no claim to sacrifice or offering.  I am mortal;
yet if I could have accepted the love of Apollo, I might have
been immortal.  He promised me the fulfilment of my wish, if I
would consent to be his.  I took a handful of sand, and holding
it forth, said, 'Grant me to see as many birthdays as there are
sand-grains in my hand.'  Unluckily I forgot to ask for enduring
youth.  This also he would have granted, could I have accepted
his love, but offended at my refusal, he allowed me to grow old.
My youth and youthful strength fled long ago.  I have lived seven
hundred years, and to equal the number of the sand-grains, I have
still to see three hundred springs and three hundred harvests.
My body shrinks up as years increase, and in time, I shall be
lost to sight, but my voice will remain, and future ages will
respect my sayings."

These concluding words of the Sibyl alluded to her prophetic
power.  In her cave she was accustomed to inscribe on leaves
gathered from the trees the names and fates of individuals.  The
leaves thus inscribed were arranged in order within the cave, and
might be consulted by her votaries.   But if perchance at the
opening of the door the wind rushed in and dispersed the leaves,
the Sibyl gave no aid to restoring them again, and the oracle was
irreparably lost.

The following legend of the Sibyl is fixed at a later date.  In
the reign of one of the Tarquins there appeared before the king a
woman who offered him nine books for sale.  The king refused to
purchase them, whereupon the woman went away and burned three of
the books, and returning offered the remaining books for the same
price she had asked for the nine.  The king again rejected them;
but when the woman, after burning three books more, returned and
asked for the three remaining the same price which she had before
asked for the nine, his curiosity was excited, and he purchased
the books.  They were found to contain the destinies of the Roman
state.  They were kept in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus,
preserved in a stone chest, and allowed to be inspected only by
especial officers appointed for that duty, who on great occasions
consulted them and interpreted their oracles to the people.

There were various Sibyls; but the Cumaean Sibyl, of whom Ovid
and Virgil write, is the most celebrated of them.  Ovid's story
of her life protracted to one thousand years may be intended to
represent the various Sibyls as being only reappearances of one
and the same individual.

It is now believed that some of the most distinguished Sibyls
took the inspiration of their oracles from the Jewish scripture.
Readers interested in this subject will consult, "Judaism," by
Prof. F. Huidekoper.

Young, in the Night Thoughts, alludes to the Sibyl.  Speaking of
worldly Wisdom, he says:

"If future fate she plans 'tis all in leaves,
Like Sibyl, unsubstantial, fleeting bliss;
At the first blast it vanishes in air.
     .    .    .    .    .
As worldly schemes resemble Sibyl's leaves,
The good man's days to Sibyl's books compare,
The price still rising as in number less."

Chapter XXVI
Camilla   Evander   Nisus and Euryalus   Mezentius   Turnus

AEneas, having parted from the Sibyl and rejoined his fleet,
coasted along the shores of Italy and cast anchor in the mouth of
the Tiber.  The poet Virgil, having brought his hero to this
spot, the destined termination of his wanderings, invokes his
Muse to tell him the situation of things at that eventful moment.
Latinus, third in descent from Saturn, ruled the country.  He was
now old and had no male descendant, but had one charming
daughter, Lavinia, who was sought in marriage by many neighboring
chiefs, one of whom, Turnus, king of the Rutulians, was favored
by the wishes of her parents.  But Latinus had been warned in a
dream by his father Faunus, that the destined husband of Lavinia
should come from a foreign land.  From that union should spring a
race destined to subdue the world.

Our readers will remember that in the conflict with the Harpies,
one of those half-human birds had threatened the Trojans with
dire sufferings.  In particular she predicted that before their
wanderings ceased they should be pressed by hunger to devour
their tables.  This portent now came true; for as they took their
scanty meal, seated on the grass, the men placed their hard
biscuit on their laps, and put thereon whatever their gleanings
in the woods supplied.  Having dispatched the latter they
finished by eating the crusts.  Seeing which, the boy Iulus said
playfully, "See, we are eating our tables."  AEneas caught the
words and accepted the omen.  "All hail, promised land!" he
exclaimed, "this is our home, this our country!"  He then took
measures to find out who were the present inhabitants of the
land, and who their rulers.  A hundred chosen men were sent to
the village of Latinus, bearing presents and a request for
friendship and alliance.  They went and were favorably received.
Latinus immediately concluded that the Trojan hero was no other
than the promised son-in-law announced by the oracle.  He
cheerfully granted his alliance and sent back the messengers
mounted on steeds from his stables, and loaded with gifts and
friendly messages.

Juno, seeing things go thus prosperously for the Trojans, felt
her old animosity revive, summoned the Fury Alecto from Erebus,
and sent her to stir up discord.  The Fury first took possession
of the queen, Amata, and roused her to oppose in every way the
new alliance.  Alecto then sped to the city of Turnus, and
assuming the form of an old priestess, informed him of the
arrival of the foreigners and of the attempts of their prince to
rob him of his bride.  Next she turned her attention to the camp
of the Trojans.  There she saw the boy Iulus and his companions
amusing themselves with hunting.  She sharpened the scent of the
dogs, and led them to rouse up from the thicket a tame stag, the
favorite of Silvia, the daughter of Tyrrheus, the king's
herdsman.  A javelin from the hand of Iulus wounded the animal,
and he had only strength left to run homewards, and died at his
mistress' feet.  Her cries and tears roused her brothers and the
herdsmen, and they, seizing whatever weapons came to hand,
furiously assaulted the hunting party.  These were protected by
their friends, and the herdsmen were finally driven back with the
loss of two of their number.

These things were enough to rouse the storm of war, and the
queen, Turnus, and the peasants, all urged the old king to drive
the strangers from the country.  He resisted as long as he could,
but finding his opposition unavailing, finally gave way and
retreated to his retirement.


It was the custom of the country, when war was to be undertaken,
for the chief magistrate, clad in his robes of office, with
solemn pomp to open the gates of the temple of Janus, which were
kept shut as long as peace endured.  His people now urged the old
king to perform that solemn office, but he refused to do so.
While they contested, Juno herself, descending from the skies,
smote the doors with irresistible force and burst them open.
Immediately the whole country was in a flame.  The people rushed
from every side breathing nothing but war.

Turnus was recognized by all as leader; others joined as allies,
chief of whom was Mezentius, a brave and able soldier, but of
detestable cruelty.  He had been the chief of one of the
neighboring cities, but his people drove him out.  With him was
joined his son Lausus, a generous youth worthy of a better sire.


Camilla, the favorite of Diana, a huntress and warrior, after the
fashion of the Amazons, came with her band of mounted followers,
including a select number of her own sex, and ranged herself on
the side of Turnus.  This maiden had never accustomed her fingers
to the distaff or the loom, but had learned to endure the toils
of war, and in speed to outstrip the wind.  It seemed as if she
might run over the standing corn without crushing it, or over the
surface of the water without dipping her feet.  Camilla's history
had been singular from the beginning.  Her father, Metabus,
driven from his city by civil discord, carried with him in his
flight his infant daughter.  As he fled through the woods, his
enemies in hot pursuit, he reached the bank of the river
Amazenus, which, swelled by rains, seemed to debar a passage.  He
paused for a moment, then decided what to do.  He tied the infant
to his lance with wrappers of bark, and, poising the weapon in
his upraised hand, thus addressed Diana: "Goddess of the woods!
I consecrate this maid to you;" then hurled the weapon with its
burden to the opposite bank.  The spear flew across the roaring
water.  His pursuers were already upon him, but he plunged into
the river and swam across, and found the spear with the infant
safe on the other side.  Thenceforth he lived among the
shepherds, and brought up his daughter in woodland arts.  While a
child she was taught to use the bow and throw the javelin.  With
her sling she could bring down the crane or the wild swan.  Her
dress was a tiger's skin.  Many mothers sought her for a
daughter-in-law, but she continued faithful to Diana,  and
repelled the thought of marriage.

There is an allusion to Camilla in those well-known lines of
Pope, in which, illustrating the rule that "the sound should be
an echo to the sense," he says,

"When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors and the words move slow.
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er th'unbendng corn or skims along the main."
Essay on Criticism


Such were the formidable allies that ranged themselves against
AEneas.  It was night, and he lay stretched in sleep on the bank
of the river, under the open heavens.  The god of the stream,
Father Tiber, seemed to raise his head above the willows, and to
say, "O goddess-born, destined possessor of the Latin realms,
this is the promised land, here is to be your home, here shall
terminate the hostility of the heavenly powers, if only you
faithfully persevere.  There are friends not far distant.
Prepare your boats and row up my stream; I will lead you to
Evander the Arcadian chief.  He has long been at strife with
Turnus and the Rutulians, and is prepared to become an ally of
yours.  Rise!  Offer your vows to Juno, and deprecate her anger.
When you have achieved your victory then think of me."  AEneas
woke and paid immediate obedience to the friendly vision.  He
sacrificed to Juno, and invoked the god of the river and all its
tributary fountains to lend their aid.  Then, for the first time,
a vessel filled with armed warriors floated on the stream of the
Tiber.  The river smoothed its waves and bade its current flow
gently, while, impelled by the vigorous strokes of the rowers,
the vessel shot rapidly up the stream.

About the middle of the day they came in sight of the scattered
buildings of the infant town where in after times the proud city
of Rome grew, whose glory reached the skies.  By chance the old
king, Evander, was that day celebrating annual solemnities in
honor of Hercules and all the gods.  Pallas, his son, and all the
chiefs of the little commonwealth stood by.  When they saw the
tall ship gliding onward through the wood, they were alarmed at
the sight, and rose from the tables.  But Pallas forbade the
solemnities to be interrupted, and seizing a weapon, stepped
forward to the river's bank.  He called aloud, demanding who they
were and what was their object.  AEneas, holding forth an olive-
branch, replied, "We are Trojans, friends to you and enemies to
the Rutulians.  We seek Evander, and offer to join our arms with
yours."  Pallas, in amazement at the sound of so great a name,
invited them to land, and when AEneas touched the shore he seized
his hand and held it long in friendly grasp.  Proceeding through
the wood they joined the king and his party, and were most
favorably received.  Seats were provided for them at the tables,
and the repast proceeded.

When the solemnities were ended all moved towards the city.  The
king, bending with age, walked between his son and AEneas, taking
the arm of one or the other of them, and with much variety of
pleasing talk shortening the way.  AEneas looked and listened
with delight, observing all the beauties of the scene, and
learning much of heroes renowned in ancient times.  Evander said,
"These extensive groves were once inhabited by fauns and nymphs,
and a rude race of men who sprang from the trees themselves, and
had neither laws nor social culture.  They knew not how to yoke
the cattle nor raise a harvest, nor provide from present
abundance for future want; but browsed like beasts upon the leafy
boughs, or fed voraciously on their hunted prey.  Such were they
when Saturn, expelled from Olympus by his sons, came among them
and drew together the fierce savages, formed them into society,
and gave them laws.  Such peace and plenty ensued that men ever
since have called his reign the golden age; but by degrees far
other times succeeded, and the thirst of gold and the thirst of
blood prevailed.  The land was a prey to successive tyrants, till
fortune and resistless destiny brought me hither, an exile from
my native land, Arcadia."

Having thus said, he showed him the Tarpeian rock, and the rude
spot then overgrown with bushes where in after times the Capitol
rose in all its magnificence.  He next pointed to some dismantled
walls, and said, "Here stood Janiculum, built by Janus, and there
Saturnia, the town of Saturn."  Such discourse brought them to
the cottage of poor Evander, whence they saw the lowing herds
roaming over the plain where now the proud and stately Forum
stands.  They entered, and a couch was spread for AEneas, well
stuffed with leaves and covered with the skin of the Libyan bear.

Next morning, awakened by the dawn and the shrill song of birds
beneath the eaves of his low mansion, old Evander rose.  Clad in
a tunic, and a panther's skin thrown over his shoulders, with
sandals on his feet, and his good sword girded to his side, he
went forth to seek his guest.  Two mastiffs followed him, his
whole retinue and body-guard.  He round the hero attended by his
faithful Achates, and, Pallas soon joining them, the old king
spoke thus:

"Illustrious Trojan, it is but little we can do in so great a
cause.  Our state is feeble, hemmed in on one side by the river,
on the other by the Rutulians.  But I propose to ally you with a
people numerous and rich, to whom fate has brought you at the
propitious moment.  The Etruscans hold the country beyond the
river.  Mezentius was their king, a monster of cruelty, who
invented unheard-of torments to gratify his vengeance.  He would
fasten the dead to the living, hand to hand and face to face, and
leave the wretched victims to die in that dreadful embrace.  At
length the people cast him out, him and his house.  They burned
his palace and slew his friends.  He escaped and took refuge with
Turnus, who protects him with arms.  The Etruscans' demand that
he shall be given up to deserved punishment, and would ere now
have attempted to enforce their demand; but their priests
restrain then, telling them that it is the will of heaven that no
native of the land shall guide them to victory, and that their
destined leader must come from across the sea.  They have offered
the crown to me, but I am too old to undertake such great
affairs, and my son is native-born, which precludes him from the
choice.  You, equally by birth and time of life, and fame in
arms, pointed out by the gods, have but to appear to be hailed as
their leader.  With you I will join Pallas, my son, my only hope
and comfort.  Under you he shall learn the art of war, and strive
to emulate your great exploits."

Then the king ordered horses to be furnished for the Trojan
chiefs, and AEneas, with a chosen band of followers and Pallas
accompanying, mounted and took the way to the Etruscan city,
having sent back the rest of his party in the ships.  AEneas and
his band safely arrived at the Etruscan camp and were received
with open arms by Tarchon, the Etruscan leader, and his


In the meanwhile Turnus had collected his bands and made all
necessary preparations for the war.  Juno sent Iris to him with a
message inciting him to take advantage of the absence of AEneas
and surprise the Trojan camp.  Accordingly the attempt was made,
but the Trojans were found on their guard, and having received
strict orders from AEneas not to fight in his absence, they lay
still in their intrenchments, and resisted all the efforts of the
Rutulians to draw them in to the field.  Night coming on, the
army of Turnus in high spirits at their fancied superiority,
feasted and enjoyed themselves, and finally stretched themselves
on the field and slept secure.

In the camp of the Trojans things were far otherwise.  There all
was watchfulness and anxiety, and impatience for AEneas's return.
Nisus stood guard at the entrance of the camp, and Euryalus, a
youth distinguished above all in the army for graces of person
and fine qualities, was with him.  These two were friends and
brothers in arms.  Nisus said to his friend, "Do you perceive
what confidence and carelessness the enemy display?  Their lights
are few and dim, and the men seem all oppressed with wine or
sleep.  You know how anxiously our chiefs wish to send to AEneas,
and to get intelligence from him.  Now I am strongly moved to
make my way through the enemy's camp and to go in search of our
chief.  If I succeed, the glory of the deed will be enough reward
for me, and if they judge the service deserves anything more, let
them pay it to you."

Euryalus, all on fire with the love of adventure, replied, "Would
you then, Nisus, refuse to share your enterprise with me?  And
shall I let you go into such danger alone?  Not so my brave
father brought me up, nor so have I planned for myself when I
joined the standard of AEneas, and resolved to hold my life cheap
in comparison with honor."  Nisus replied, "I doubt it not, my
friend; but you know the uncertain event of such an undertaking,
and whatever may happen to me, I wish you to be safe.  You are
younger than I and have more of life in prospect.  Nor can I be
the cause of such grief to your mother, who has chosen to be here
in the camp with you rather than stay and live in peace with the
other matrons in Acestes' city."  Euryalus replied, "Say no more.
In vain you seek arguments to dissuade me.  I am fixed in the
resolution to go with you.  Let us lose no time."  They called
the guard, and committing the watch to them, sought the general's
tent.  They found the chief officers in consultation,
deliberating how they should send notice to AEneas of their
situation.  The offer of the two friends was gladly accepted,
they themselves were loaded with praises and promised the most
liberal rewards in case of success.  Iulus especially addressed
Euryalus, assuring him of his lasting friendship.  Euryalus
replied, "I have but one boon to ask.  My aged mother is with me
in the camp.    For me she left the Trojan soil, and would not
stay behind with the other matrons at the city of Acestes.  I go
now without taking leave of her.  I could not bear her tears nor
set at   nought he entreaties.  But do thou, I beseech thee,
comfort her in her distress.  Promise me that, and I shall go
more boldly into whatever dangers may present themselves."  Iulus
and the other chiefs were moved to tears, and promised to do all
his request.  "Your mother shall be mine," said Iulus, "and all
that I have promised to you shall be made good to her, if you do
not return to receive it."

The two friends left the camp and plunged at once into the midst
of the enemy.  They found no watch, no sentinels posted, but all
about, the sleeping soldiers strewn on the grass and among the
wagons.  The laws of war at that early day did not forbid a brave
man to slay a sleeping foe, and the two Trojans slew, as they
passed, such of the enemy as they could without exciting alarm.
In one tent Euryalus made prize of a helmet brilliant with gold
and plumes.  They had passed through the enemy's ranks without
being discovered, but now suddenly appeared a troop directly in
front of them, which, under Volscens, their leader, were
approaching the camp.  The glittering helmet of Euryalus caught
their attention, and Volscens hailed the two, and demanded who
and whence they were.  They made no answer, but plunged into the
wood.  The horsemen scattered in all directions to intercept
their flight.  Nisus had eluded pursuit and was out of danger,
but Euryalus being missing he turned back to seek him.  He again
entered the wood and soon came within sound of voices.  Looking
through the thicket he saw the whole band surrounding Euryalus
with noisy questions.  What should he do?  How extricate the
youth?  Or would it be better to die with him?

Raising his eyes to the moon which now shone clear, he said,
"Goddess!  Favor my effort!"  And aiming his javelin at one of
the leaders of the troop, struck him in the back and stretched
him on the plain with a death-blow.  In the midst of their
amazement another weapon flew, and another of the party fell
dead.  Volscens, the leader, ignorant whence the darts came,
rushed sword in hand upon Euryalus.  "You shall pay the penalty
of both," he said, and would have plunged the sword into his
bosom, when Nisus, who from his concealment saw the peril of his
friend, rushed forward, exclaiming, "'Twas I, 'twas I; turn your
swords against me, Rutulians; I did it; he only followed me as a
friend."  While he spoke the sword fell, and pierced the comely
bosom of Euryalus.  His head fell over on his shoulder, like a
flower cut down by the plough.  Nisus rushed upon Volscens and
plunged his sword into his body, and was himself slain on the
instant by numberless blows.


AEneas, with his Etrurian allies, arrived on the scene of action
in time to rescue his beleaguered camp; and now the two armies
being nearly equal in strength, the war began in good earnest.
We cannot find space for all the details, but must simply record
the fate of the principal characters whom we have introduced to
our readers.  The tyrant Mezentius, finding himself engaged
against his revolted subjects, raged like a wild beast.  He slew
all who dared to withstand him, and put the multitude to flight
wherever he appeared.  At last he encountered AEneas, and the
armies stood still to see the issue.  Mezentius threw his spear,
which striking AEneas's shield glanced off and hit Anthor.  He
was a Grecian by birth, who had left Argos, his native city, and
followed Evander into Italy.  The poet says of him, with simple
pathos which has made the words proverbial, "He fell, unhappy, by
a wound intended for another, looked up to the skies, and dying
remembered sweet Argos."  AEneas now in turn hurled his lance.
It pierced the shield of Mezentius, and wounded him in the thigh.
Lausus, his son, could not bear the sight, but rushed forward and
interposed himself, while the followers pressed round Mezentius
and bore him away.  AEneas held his sword suspended over Lausus
and delayed to strike, but the furious youth pressed on and he
was compelled to deal the fatal blow.  Lausus fell, and AEneas
bent over him in pity.  "Hapless youth," he said, "what can I do
for you worthy of your praise?  Keep those arms in which you
glory, and fear not but that your body shall be restored to your
friends, and have due funeral honors."  So saying, he called the
timid followers, and delivered the body into their hands.

Mezentius meanwhile had been borne to the river-side, and washed
his wound.  Soon the news reached him of Lausus's death, and rage
and despair supplied the place of strength.  He mounted his horse
and dashed into the thickest of the fight, seeking AEneas.
Having found him, he rode round him in a circle, throwing one
javelin after another, while Aeneas stood fenced with his shield,
turning every way to meet them.   At last, after Mezentius had
three times made the circuit, AEneas threw his lance directly at
the horse's head.  It pierced his temples and he fell, while a
shout from both armies rent the skies.  Mezentius asked no mercy,
but only that his body might be spared the insults of his
revolted subjects, and be buried in the same grave with his son.
He received the fatal stroke not unprepared, and poured out his
life and his blood together.

While these things were doing in one part of the field, in
another Turnus encountered the youthful Pallas.  The contest
between champions so unequally matched could not be doubtful.
Pallas bore himself bravely, but fell by the lance of Turnus.
The victor almost relented when he saw the brave youth lying dead
at his feet, and spared to use the privilege of a conqueror in
despoiling him of his arms.  The belt only, adorned with studs
and carvings of gold, he took and clasped round his own body.
The rest he remitted to the friends of the slain.

After the battle there was a cessation of arms for some days to
allow both armies to bury their dead.  In this interval AEneas
challenged Turnus to decide the contest by single combat, but
Turnus evaded the challenge.  Another battle ensued, in which
Camilla, the virgin warrior, was chiefly conspicuous.  Her deeds
of valor surpassed those of the bravest warriors, and many
Trojans and Etruscans fell pierced with her darts or struck down
by her battle-axe.  At last an Etruscan named Aruns, who had
watched her long, seeking for some advantage, observed her
pursuing a flying enemy whose splendid armor offered a tempting
prize.  Intent on the chase she observed not her danger, and the
javelin of Aruns struck her and inflicted a fatal wound.  She
fell and breathed her last in the arms of her attendant maidens.
But Diana, who beheld her fate, suffered not her slaughter to be
unavenged.  Aruns, as he stole away, glad but frightened, was
struck by a secret arrow, launched by one of the nymphs of
Diana's train, and died ignobly and unknown.

At length the final conflict took place between AEneas and
Turnus.  Turnus had avoided the contest as long as he could, but
at last impelled by the ill success of his arms, and by the
murmurs of his followers, he braced himself to the conflict.  It
could not be doubtful.  On the side of AEneas were the expressed
decree of destiny, the aid of his goddess-mother at every
emergency, and impenetrable armor fabricated by Vulcan, at Venus'
request, for her son.  Turnus, on the other hand, was deserted by
his celestial allies, Juno having been expressly forbidden by
Jupiter to assist him any longer.  Turnus threw his lance, but it
recoiled harmless from the shield of AEneas.  The Trojan hero
then threw his, which penetrated the shield of Turnus, and
pierced his thigh.  Then Turnus' fortitude forsook him and he
begged for mercy; and AEneas would have given him his life, but
at the instant his eye fell on the belt of Pallas, which Turnus
had taken from the slaughtered youth.  Instantly his rage
revived, and exclaiming, "Pallas immolates thee with this blow,"
he thrust him through with his sword.

Here the AEneid closes, but the story goes that AEneas, having
triumphed over his foes, obtained Lavinia as his bride.  His son
Iulus founded the city of Alba Longa.  He, and his descendants
after him, reigned over the town for many years.  At length
Numitor and Amulius, two brothers, quarrelled about the kingdom.
Amulius seized the crown by force, cast out Numitor, and made his
daughter, Rhea Silvia, a Vestal Virgin.  The Vestal Virgins, the
priestesses of the goddess Vesta, were sworn to celibacy.  But
Rhea Silvia broke her vow, and gave birth, by the god Mars, to
the twins, Romulus and Remus.  For this offence she was buried
alive, the usual punishment accorded to unfaithful Vestals, while
the children were exposed on the river Tiber.  Romulus and Remus,
however, were rescued by a herdsman, and were educated among the
shepherds in ignorance of their parentage.  But chance revealed
it to them.  They collected a band of friends, and took revenge
on their granduncle for the murder of their mother.  Afterwards
they founded, by the side of the river Tiber, where they had been
exposed in infancy, the city of Rome.

Chapter XXVII
Pythagoras.   Egyptian Deities.   Oracles

The teachings of Anchises to AEneas, respecting the nature of the
human soul, were in conformity with the doctrines of the
Pythagoreans.  Pythagoras (born, perhaps, about five hundred and
forty years B.C.) was a native of the island of Samos, but passed
the chief portion of his life at Crotona in Italy.  He is
therefore sometimes called "the Samian," and sometimes "the
philosopher of Crotona."  When young he travelled extensively and
is said to have visited Egypt, where he was instructed by the
priests in all their learning, and afterwards journeyed to the
East, and visited the Persian and Chaldean Magi, and the Brahmins
of India.

But Pythagoras left no writings which have been preserved.  His
immediate disciples were under a pledge of secrecy.  Though he is
referred to by many writers, at times not far distant from his
own, we have no biography of him written earlier than the end of
the second century of our era.  In the interval between his life
and this time, every sort of fable collected around what was
really known of his life and teaching.

At Crotona, where he finally established himself, it is said that
his extraordinary qualities collected round him a great number of
disciples.  The inhabitants were notorious for luxury and
licentiousness, but the good effects of his influence were soon
visible.  Sobriety and temperance succeeded.  Six hundred of the
inhabitants became his disciples and enrolled themselves in a
society to aid each other in the pursuit of wisdom; uniting their
property in one common stock, for the benefit of the whole.  They
were required to practise the greatest purity and simplicity of
manners.  The first lesson they learned was SILENCE; for a time
they were required to be only hearers.  "He (Pythagoras) said
so," (Ipse dixit,) was to be held by them as sufficient, without
any proof.  It was only the advanced pupils, after years of
patient submission, who were allowed to ask questions and to
state objections.

Pythagoras is said to have considered NUMBERS as the essence and
principle of all things, and attributed to them a real and
distinct existence; so that, in his view, they were the elements
out of which the universe was constructed.  How he conceived this
process has never been satisfactorily explained.  He traced the
various forms and phenomena of the world to numbers as their
basis and essence.  The "Monad," or UNIT, he regarded as the
source of all numbers.  The number TWO was imperfect, and the
cause of increase and division.  THREE was called the number of
the whole, because it had a beginning, middle, and end; FOUR,
representing the square, is in the highest degree perfect; and
TEN, as it contains the sum of the first three prime numbers
(2+3+5=10.  ONE is not counted, as being rather the source of
number than a number itself) comprehends all musical and
arithmetical proportions, and denotes the system of the world.

As the numbers proceed frm the Monad, so he regarded the pure and
simple essence of the Deity as the source of all the forms of
nature.  Gods, demons, and heroes are emanations of the Supreme;
and there is a fourth emanation, the human soul.  This is
immortal, and when freed from the fetters of the body, passes to
the habitation of the dead, where it remains till it returns to
the world to dwell in some other human or animal body, and at
last, when sufficiently purified, it returns to the source from
which it proceeded.  This doctrine of the transmigration of souls
(metempsychosis), which was first Indian and Egyptian, and
connected with the doctrine of reward and punishment of human
actions, was the chief cause why the Pythagoreans killed no
animals.  Ovid represents Pythagoras addressing his disciples in
these words: "Souls never die, but always on quitting one abode
pass to another.  I myself can remember that in the time of the
Trojan was I was Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, and fell by the
spear of Menelaus.  Lately, being in the temple of Juno, at
Argos, I recognized my shield hung up there among the trophies.
All things change, nothing perishes.  The soul passes hither and
thither, occupying now this body, now that, passing from the body
of a beast into that of a man, and thence to a beast's again.  As
wax is stamped with certain figures, then melted, then stamped
anew with others, yet is always the same wax, so the soul, being
always the same, yet wears at different times different forms.
Therefore, if the love of kindred is not extinct in your bosoms,
forbear, I entreat you, to violate the life of those who may
haply be your own relatives."

Shakespeare, in the Merchant of Venice, makes Gratiano allude to
the metempsychosis, where he says to Shylock:

"Thou almost mak'st me waver in my faith,
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men; thy currish spirit
Governed a wolf; who hanged for human slaughter
Infused his soul in thee; for thy desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous."

The relation of the notes of the musical scale to numbers,
whereby harmony results from vibrations in equal times, and
discord from the reverse, led Pythagoras to apply the word
"harmony" to the visible creation, meaning by it the just
adaptation of parts to each other.  This is the idea which Dryden
expresses in the beginning of his song for St. Cecilia's Day:

"From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This everlasting frame began;
>From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The Diapason closing full in Man."

In the centre of the universe (as Pythagoras taught) there was a
central fire, the principle of life.  The central fire was
surrounded by the earth, the moon, the sun, and the five planets.
The distances of the various heavenly bodies from one another
were conceived to correspond to the proportions of the musical
scale.  The heavenly bodies, with the gods who inhabited them,
were supposed to perform a choral dance round the central fire,
"not without song."  It is this doctrine which Shakespeare
alludes to when he makes Lorenzo teach astronomy to Jessica in
this fashion:

"Sit, Jessica, look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold!
There's not the smallest orb that thou behold'st
But in this motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim;
Such harmony is in immortal souls!
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in we cannot hear it."
Merchant of Venice

The spheres were conceived to be crystalline or glassy fabrics
arranged over one another like a nest of bowls reversed.  In the
substance of each sphere one or more of the heavenly bodies was
supposed to be fixed, so as to move with it.  As the spheres are
transparent, we look through them, and see the heavenly bodies
which they contain and carry round with them.  But as these
spheres cannot move on one another without friction, a sound is
thereby produced which is of exquisite harmony, too fine for
mortal ears to recognize.  Milton, in his Hymn to the Nativity,
thus alludes to the music of the spheres:

"Ring out, ye crystal spheres!
Once bless our human ears;
(If ye have power to charm our senses so);
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow:
And with your nine-fold harmony
Make up full concert with the angelic symphony."

Pythagoras is said to have invented the lyre, of which other
fables give the invention to Mercury.  Our own poet, Longfellow,
in Verses to a Child, thus relates the story:

"As great Pythagoras of yore,
Standing beside the blacksmith's door,
And hearing the hammers as they smote
The Anvils with a different note,
Stole from the varying tones that hung
Vibrant on every iron tongue,
The secret of the sounding wire,
And formed the seven-chorded lyre."

See also the same poet's Occultation of Orion:

"The Samian's great AEolian lyre."


Sybaris, a neighboring city to Crotona, was as celebrated for
luxury and effeminacy as Crotona for the reverse.  The name has
become proverbial.  Lowell uses it in this sense in his charming
little poem To the Dandelion:

"Not in mild June the golden-cuirassed bee
Feels a more summer-like, warm ravishment
In the white lily's breezy tent,
(His conquered Sybaris) than I when first
>From the dark green thy yellow circles burst."

A war arose between the two cities, and Sybaris was conquered and
destroyed.  Milo, the celebrated athlete, led the army of
Crotona.  Many stories are told of Milo's vast strength, such as
his carrying a heifer of four years old upon his shoulders, and
afterwards eating the whole of it in a single day.  The mode of
his death is thus related: As he was passing through a forest he
saw the trunk of a tree which had been partially split open by
wood-cutters, and attempted to rend it further; but the wood
closed upon his hands and held him fast, in which state he was
attacked and devoured by wolves.

Byron, in his Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, alludes to the story of

"He who of old would rend the oak
Deemed not of the rebound;
Chained by the trunk he vainly broke,
Alone, how looked he round!"


The remarkable discovery by which Champollion the younger (so
called to distinguish him from his older brother, Champollion
Figeac, who also studied the hieroglyphics)) first opened to
modern times the secret of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, has been
followed up by laborious studies, which tell us more of Egyptian
worship and mythology, with more precision, than we know of any
other ancient religion but that of the Hebrews.  We have even
great numbers of copies of the liturgies, or handbooks of
worship, of funeral solemnities, and other rituals, which have
been diligently translated.  And we have a sufficient body of the
literature written and used by the priesthood.

These discoveries give to writers of this generation a much
fuller knowledge of the Egyptian religion, of its forms, and of
the names of its gods, than they had before.  It is impossible,
and probably always will be, to state with precision the theology
on which it rested.  It is impossible, because that theology was
different in one time and with one school from what it was at
other times.  Mr. S. Birch, of the British Museum, says, "The
religion of the Egyptians consisted of an extended polytheism
represented by a system of local groups."  But Mr. Pierret says,
"The polytheism of the monuments is but an outward show.  The
innumerable gods of the Pantheon are but manifestations of the
One Being in his various capacities.  Mariette Bey says, "The one
result is that according to the Egyptians, the universe was God
himself, and that Pantheism formed the foundation of their

In this book it is not necessary to reconcile views so diverse,
nor indeed to enter on studies so profound as those which should
decide between them.  For our purpose here it is enough to know
that the Sun was the older object of worship, and in his various
forms   rising, midday, or setting   was adored under different
names.  Frequently his being and these names were united to the
types of other deities.  Mr. Birch believes that the worship of
Osiris prevailed largely beside the worship of the Sun, and is
not to be confounded with it.  To Osiris, Set, the Egyptian
devil, was opposed.

The original God, the origin of all things, manifests himself to
men, in lesser forms, according to this mythology, more and more
human and less and less intangible.  These forms are generally
triads, and resolve themselves into a male deity, a female deity,
and their child.  Triad after triad brings the original Divinity
into forms more and more earthly, till at last we find "that we
have no longer to do with the infinite and intangible God of the
earliest days, but rather with a God of flesh and blood, who
lives upon earth, and has so abased himself as to be no more than
a human king.  It is no longer the God of whom no man knew either
the form or the substance: it is Kneph at Esneh,   Hathor at
Durderah,   Horus, king of the divine dynasty at Edfoo."  These
words are M. Maspero's.

The Greek and Latin poets and philosophers, as they made some
very slight acquaintance with Egyptian worship, give Greek or
Latin names to the divinities worshipped.  Thus we sometimes hear
Osiris spoken of as the Egyptian Hermes.  But such changes of
names are confusing, and are at best but fanciful (In the same
way Plutarch, a Greek writer, says of the Jews' Feast of
Tabernacles, "I know that their God is our Bacchus."  This was
merely from the vines, vine leaves and wine used in the
ceremonies.)  It would happen sometimes, in later times, that a
fashion of religion would carry the worship of one God or Goddess
to a distance.  Thus the worship of Isis became fashionable in
Rome in the time of Nero and Paul, as readers of Bulwer's Last
Days of Pompeii will remember.

The latest modern literature occasionally uses the Egyptian
names, as the last two centuries have disinterred them from the
inscriptions on the monuments, and from the manuscripts in the
tombs.  Earlier English writers generally use the names like
Osiris, Anubis, and others found in Latin and Greek writers.

The following statement as to these deities and their names is
from Mr. Birch:

"The deities of ancient Egypt consist of celestial, terrestrial,
and infernal gods, and of many inferior personages, either
representatives of the greater gods or attendants on them.  Most
of the gods were connected with the sun, and represented that
luminary through the upper hemisphere or Heaven and the lower
hemisphere or Hades.  To the deities of the solar cycle belonged
the great gods of Thebes and Heliopolis.  In the local worship of
Egypt the deities were arranged in local triads; thus at Memphis,
Ptah, his wife Merienptah, and their son Nefer Atum, formed a
triad, to which was sometimes added the goddess Bast or Bubastis.
At Abydos the local triad was Osiris, Isis, and Horus, with
Nephthys; at Thebes, Amen Ra or Ammon, Mut and Chons, with Neith;
at Elephantine, Kneph, Anuka, Sati, and Hak.  In most instances
the names of the gods are Egyptian; thus, Ptah meant 'the
opener'; Amen, 'the concealed'; Ra, 'the sun or day'; Athor, 'the
house of Horus';' but some few, especially of later times, were
introduced from Semitic sources, as Bal or Baal, Astaruta or
Astarte, Khen or Kiun, Respu or Reseph.  Besides the principal
gods, several inferior or parhedral gods, sometimes
personifications of the faculties, senses, and other objects, are
introduced into the religious system, and genii, spirits or
personified souls of deities formed part of the same.  At a
period subsequent to their first introduction the gods were
divided into three orders.  The first or highest comprised eight
deities, who were different in the Memphian and Theban systems.
They were supposed to have reigned over Egypt before the time of
mortals.  The eight gods of the first order at Memphis were   1.
Ptah; 2. Shu; 3. Tefnu; 4. Seb; 5. Nut; 6. Osiris; 7. Isis and
Horus; 8. Athor.  Those of Thebes were   1. Amen Ra; 2. Mentu; 3.
Atum; 4. Shu and Tefnu; 5. Seb; 6. Osiris; 7. Set and Nepthys; 8.
Horus and Athor.  The gods of the second order were twelve in
number, but the name of one only, an Egyptian Hercules, has been
preserved.  The third order is stated to have comprised Osiris,
who, it will be seen, belonged to the first order."  GUIDE TO THE

Miss Edwards gives the following convenient register of the names
most familiar among the Egyptian gods (in her very interesting
book, "A Thousand Miles up the Nile").

PHTAH or PTAH: In form a mummy, holding the emblem called by some
the Nilometer, by others the emblem of Stability, called "the
father of the Beginning, the Creator of the Egg of the Sun and
Moon," Chief Deity of Memphis.

KNEPH, KNOUM or KNOUPHIS: Ram-headed, called the Maker of gods
and men, the Soul of the gods.  Chief Deity of Elephantine and
the Cataracts.

RA: Hawk-headed, and crowned with the sun-disc, encircled by an
asp.  The divine disposer and organizer of the world; adored
throughout Egypt.

AMEN RA: Of human form, crowned with a flat-topped cap and two
long, straight plumes; clothed in the schenti; his flesh
sometimes painted blue.  There are various forms of this god
(there were almost as many varieties of Ammon in Egypt as there
are varieties of the Madonna in Italy or Spain), but he is most
generally described as King of the Gods, chief deity of Thebes.

KHEM: Of human form, mummified; wears head-dress of Amen Ra; his
right hand uplifted, holding a flail.  The god of productiveness
and generation.  Chief deity of Khemmis, or Ekhmeem.

OSIRIS: Of human form, mummified, crowned with a mitre, and
holding the flail and crook.  Called the Good; the Lord above
all; the one lord.  Was the god of the lower world; judge of the
dead; and representative of the sun below the horizon.  Adored
through Egypt.  Local deity of Abydos.

NEFER ATUM: Human-headed, and crowned with the pschent.  This god
represented the nocturnal sun, or the sun lighting the lower
world.  Local deity of Heliopolis.

THOTH: In form a man, ibis-headed, generally depicted with the
pen and palette of a scribe.  Was the god of the moon, and of
letters.  Local deity of Sesoon, or Hermopolit.

SEB: The "Father of the Gods," and deity of terrestrial
vegetation.  In form like a man with a goose upon his head.

SET: Represented by a symbolic animal, with a muzzle and ears
like a jackal, the body of an ass, and an upright tail, like the
tail of a lion.  Was originally a warlike god, and became in
later times the symbol of evil and the enemy of Osiris.

KHONS: Hawk-headed, crowned with the sun-disc and horns.  Is
sometimes represented as a youth with the side-lock, standing on
a crocodile.

HORUS: Horus appears variously as Horus, Horus Aroeris, and Horus
Harpakhrat (Hippocrates), or Horus the child.  Is represented
under the first two forms as a man, hawk-headed, wearing the
double crown of Egypt; in the latter as a child with the side-
lock.  Local deity of Edfoo (Apollinopolis Magna).

MAUT: A woman draped, and crowned with the pschent (the pschent
was a double crown, worn by the king at his coronation),
representing a vulture.  Adored at Thebes.

NEITH: A woman draped, holding sometimes a bow and arrows,
crowned with the crown of Lower Egypt.  She presided over war,
and the loom.  Worshipped at Thebes.

ISIS: A woman crowned with the sun-disc surmounted by a throne,
and sometimes enclosed between horns.  Adored at Abydos.  Her
soul resided in Sothis on the Dog-star.

NUT: A woman so bent that her hands touched the earth.  She
represents the vault of heaven, and is the mother of the gods.

HATHOR: Cow-headed, and crowned with the disc and plumes.  Deity
of Amenti, or the Egyptian Hades.  Worshipped at Denderah.

PASHT: Pasht and Bast appear to be two forms of the same goddess.
As Bast she is represented as a woman, lion-headed, with the disc
and uroeus; as Pasht she is cat-headed, and holds a sistrum.
Adored at Bubastis.  Observe the syllable BAST.

The highest visible deity of the Egyptians was Amun Ra, or Amen
Ra, the concealed sun; the word Ra signifying the sun.  This name
appears in the Greek and Latin writers as Zeus Ammon and Jupiter
Ammon.  When Amun manifests himself by his word, will or spirit,
he is known as Nu, Num, Noub, Nef, Neph, or Kneph,   and this
word Kneph through the form Cnuphis is, perhaps, the Anubis of
the Greek and Latin authors. That word has not been found earlier
than the time of Augustus.  Anubis was then worshipped as the
guardian god, and represented with a dog's head.

The soul of Osiris was supposed to exist in some way in the
sacred bull Apis, of which Serapis or Sarapis is probably another
name.  "Apis," says Herodotus, "is a young bull,   whose hair is
black, on his forehead a white triangle, -- on his back an eagle,
  with a beetle under his tongue and with the hair of his tail
double."  Ovid says he is of various colors.  Plutarch says he
has a crescent on his right side.  These superstitions varied
from age to age.  Apis was worshipped in Memphis.

It must be observed, in general, that the names in the Latin
classics belong to a much later period of the Egyptian religion
than the names found on most of the monuments.  It will be found,
that, as in the change from Nu to Anubis, it is difficult to
trace the progress of a name from one to the other.  In the cases
where an ox, a ram, or a dog is worshipped with, or as a symbol
of, a god, we probably have the survival of a very early local

Horus or Harpocrates, named above, was the son of Osiris.  He is
sometimes represented, seated on a Lotus-flower, with his finger
on his lips, as the god of silence.

In one of Moore's Irish Melodies is an allusion to Harpocrates: -

"Thyself shall, under some rosy bower,
Sit mute, with thy finger on thy lip:
Like him, the boy, who born among
The flowers that on the Nile-stream blush,
Sits over thus,   his only song
To Earth and Heaven, "Hush, all, hush!"


Osiris and Isis were at one time induced to descend to the earth
to bestow gifts and blessings on its inhabitants.  Isis showed
them first the use of wheat and barley, and Osiris made the
instruments of agriculture and taught men the use of them, as
well as how to harness the ox to the plough.  He then gave men
laws, the institution of marriage, a civil organization, and
taught them how to worship the gods.  After he had thus made the
valley of the Nile a happy country, he assembled a host with
which he went to bestow his blessings upon the rest of the world.
He conquered the nations everywhere, but not with weapons, only
with music and eloquence.  His brother Typhon (Typhon is supposed
to be the Seth of the monuments) saw this, and filled with envy
and malice sought, during his absence, to usurp his throne.   But
Isis, who held the reins of government, frustrated his plans.
Still more embittered, he now resolved to kill his brother.  This
he did in the following manner: Having organized a conspiracy of
seventy-two members, he went with them to the feast which was
celebrated in honor of the king's return.  He then caused a box
or chest to be brought in, which had been made to fit exactly the
size of Osiris, and declared that he would give that chest of
precious wood to whosoever could get into it.  The rest tried in
vain, but no sooner was Osiris in it than Typhon and his
companions closed the lid and flung the chest into the Nile.
When Isis heard of the cruel murder she wept and mourned, and
then with her hair shorn, clothed in black and beating her
breast, she sought diligently for the body of her husband.  In
this search she was assisted by Anubis, the son of Osiris and
Nephthys.  They sought in vain for some time; for when the chest,
carried by the waves to the shores of Byblos, had become
entangled in the reeds that grew at the edge of the water, the
divine power that dwelt in the body of Osiris imparted such
strength to the shrub that it grew into a mighty tree, enclosing
in its trunk the coffin of the god.  This tree, with its sacred
deposit, was shortly afterward felled, and erected as a column in
the palace of the king of Phoenicia.  But at length, by the aid
of Anubis and the sacred birds, Isis ascertained these facts, and
then went to the royal city.  There she offered herself at the
palace as a servant, and being admitted, threw off her disguise
and appeared as the goddess, surrounded with thunder and
lightning.  Striking the column with her wand, she caused it to
split open and give up the sacred coffin.  This she seized and
returned with it, and concealed it in the depth of a forest, but
Typhon discovered it, and cutting the body into fourteen pieces,
scattered them hither and thither.  After a tedious search, Isis
found thirteen pieces, the fishes of the Nile having eaten the
other.  This she replaced by an imitation of sycamore wood, and
buried the body at Philoe, which became ever after the great
burying place of the nation, and the spot to which pilgrimages
were made from all parts of the country.  A temple of surpassing
magnificence was also erected there in honor of the god, and at
every place where one of his limbs had been found, minor temples
and tombs were built to commemorate the event.  Osiris became
after that the tutelar deity of the Egyptians.  His soul was
supposed always to inhabit the body of the bull Apis, and at his
death to transfer itself to his successor.

Apis, the Bull of Memphis, was worshipped with the greatest
reverence by the Egyptians.  As soon as a bull marked with the
marks which have been described, was found by those sent in
search of him, he was placed in a building facing the east, and
was fed with milk for four months.  At the expiration of this
term the priests repaired at new moon with great pomp, to his
habitation, and saluted him Apis.  He was placed in a vessel
magnificently decorated and conveyed down the Nile to Memphis,
where a temple, with two chapels and a court for exercise, was
assigned to him.   Sacrifices were made to him, and once every
year, about the time when the Nile began to rise, a golden cup
was thrown into the river, and a grand festival was held to
celebrate his birthday.  The people believed that during this
festival the crocodiles forgot their natural ferocity and became
harmless.  There was however one drawback to his happy lot; he
was not permitted to live beyond a certain period; and if when he
had attained the age of twenty-five years, he still survived, the
priests drowned him in the sacred cistern, and then buried him in
the temple of Serapis.  On the death of this bull, whether it
occurred in the course of nature or by violence, the whole land
was filled with sorrow and lamentations, which lasted until his
successor was found.

A new Apis was found as late as the reign of Hadrian.  A mummy
made from one of the Sacred Bulls may be seen in the Egyptian
collection of the Historical Society, New York.

Milton, in his Hymn of the Nativity, alludes to the Egyptian
deities, not as imaginary beings, but as real demons put to
flight by the coming of Christ:

"The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis and Horus and the dog Anubis haste.
Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green
Trampling the unshowered* grass with lowings loud;
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest;
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud.
In vain with timbrel'd anthems dark
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipped ark."

*(There being no rain in Egypt, the grass is "unshowered," and
the country depends for its fertility upon the overflowings of
the Nile.  The ark alluded to in the last line is shown by
pictures still remaining on the walls of the Egyptian temples to
have been borne by the priests in their religious processions.
It probably represented the chest in which Osiris was placed.)

Isis was represented in statuary with the head veiled, a symbol
of mystery.  It is this which Tennyson alludes to in Maud, 0V.8

"For the drift of te Maker is dark, an Isis hid by the veil."


Oracle was the name used to denote the place where answers were
supposed to be given by any of the divinities to those who
consulted them respecting the future. The word was also used to
signify the response which was given.

The most ancient Grecian oracle was that of Jupiter at Dodona.
According to one account it was established in the following
manner.  Two black doves took their flight from Thebes in Egypt.
One flew to Dodona in Epirus and alighting in a grove of oaks, it
proclaimed in human language to the inhabitants of the district
that they must establish there an oracle of Jupiter.  The other
dove flew to the temple of Jupiter Ammon in the Libyan oasis, and
delivered a similar command there.   Another account is, that
they were not doves, but priestesses, who were carried off from
Thebes in Egypt by the Phoenicians, and set up oracles at Oasis
and Dodona.  The responses of the oracle were given from the
trees, by the branches rustling in the wind, the sounds being
interpreted by the priests.

But the most celebrated of the Grecian oracles was that of Apollo
at Delphi, a city built on the slopes of Parnassus in Phocis.

It had been observed at a very early period that the goats
feeding on Parnassus were thrown into convulsions when they
approached a certain long deep cleft in the side of the mountain.
This was owing to a peculiar vapor arising out of the cavern, and
one of the goatherds was induced to try its effects upon himself.
Inhaling the intoxicating air he was affected in the same manner
as the cattle had been, and the inhabitants of the surrounding
country, unable to explain the circumstance, imputed the
convulsive ravings to which he gave utterance while under the
power of the exhalations, to a divine inspiration.  The fact was
speedily circulated widely, and a temple was erected on the spot.
The prophetic influence was at first variously attributed to the
goddess Earth, to Neptune, Themis, and others, but it was at
length assigned to Apollo, and to him alone.  A priestess was
appointed whose office it was to inhale the hallowed air, and who
was named the Pythia.  She was prepared for this duty by previous
ablution at the fountain of Castalia, and being crowned with
laurel was seated upon a tripod similarly adorned, which was
placed over the chasm whence the divine afflatus proceeded.  Her
inspired words while thus situated were interpreted by the


Besides the oracles of Jupiter and Apollo, at Dodona and Delphi,
that of Trophonius in Boeotia was held in high estimation.
Trophonius and Agamedes were brothers.  They were distinguished
architechts, and built the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and a
treasury for King Hyrieus.  In the wall of the treasury they
placed a stone, in such a manner that it could be taken out; and
by this means from time to time purloined the treasure.  This
amazed Hyrieus, for his locks and seals were untouched, and yet
his wealth, continually diminished.   At length he set a trap for
the thief and Agamedes was caught.  Trophonius unable to
extricate him, and fearing that when found he would be compelled
by torture to discover his accomplice, cut off his head.
Trophonius himself is said to have been shortly afterwards
swallowed up by the earth.

The oracle of Trophonius was at Lebadea in Boeotia.  During a
great drought the Boeotians, it is said, were directed by the god
at Delphi to seek aid of Trophonius at Lebadea.  They came
thither, but could find no oracle.  One of them, however,
happening to see a swarm of bees, followed them to a chasm in the
earth, which proved to be the place sought.

Peculiar ceremonies were to be performed by the person who came
to consult the oracle.  After these preliminaries, he descended
into the cave by a narrow passage.  This place could be entered
only in the night.  The person returned from the cave by the same
narrow passage, but walking backwards.  He appeared melancholy
and dejected; and hence the proverb which was applied to a person
low-spirited and gloomy, "He has been consulting the oracle of


There were numerous oracles of Aesculapius, but the most
celebrated one was at Epidaurus.  Here the sick sought responses
and the recovry of their health by sleeping in the temple.  It
has been inferred from the accounts that have come down to us,
that the treatment of the sick resembled what is now called
Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism.

Serpents were sacred to Aesculapius, probably because of a
superstition that those animals have a faculty of renewing their
youth by a change of skin.  The worship of Aesculapius was
introduced into Rome in a time of great sickness, and an embassy
sent to the temple of Epidaurus to entreat the aid of the god.
Aesculapius was propitious, and on the return of the ship
accompanied it in the form of a serpent.  Arriving in the river
Tiber, the serpent glided from the vessel and took possession of
an island in the river, and a temple was there erected to his


At Memphis the sacred bull Apis gave answer to those who
consulted him, by the manner in which he received or rejected
what was presented to him.  If the bull refused food from the
hand of the inquirer it was considered an unfavorable sign, and
the contrary when he received it.

It has been a question whether oracular responses ought to be
ascribed to mere human contrivance or to the agency of evil
spirits.  The latter opinion has been most general in past ages.
A third theory has been advanced since the phenomena of Mesmerism
have attracted attention, that something like the mesmeric trance
was induced in the Pythoness, and the faculty of clairvoyance
really called into action.

Another question is as to the time when the Pagan oracles ceased
to give responses.   Ancient Christian writers assert that they
became silent at the birth of Christ, and were heard no more
after that date.  Milton adopts this view in his Hymn of the
Nativity, and in lines of solemn and elevated beauty pictures the
consternation of the heathen idols at the advent of the Saviour.

"The oracles are dumb;
No voice or hideous hum
Rings through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance or breathed spell
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell."

In Cowper's poem of Yardley Oak there are some beautiful
mythological allusions.  The former of the two following is to
the fable of Castor and Pollux; the latter is more appropriate to
our present subject.  Addressing the acorn he says,

"Thou fell'st mature; and in the loamy clod,
Swelling with vegetative force instinct,
Didst burst thine egg, as theirs the fabled Twins
Now stars; two lobes protruding, paired exact;
A leaf succeeded and another leaf,
And, all the elements thy puny growth
Fostering propitious, thou becam'st a twig.
Who lived when thou was such?  Oh, couldst thou speak
As in Dodona once thy kindred trees
Oracular, I would not curious ask
The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth
Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past."

Tennyson in his Talking Oak alludes to the oaks of Dodona in
these lines:

"And I will work in prose and rhyme,
And praise thee more in both
Than bard has honored beech or lime,
Or that Thessalian growth
In which the swarthy ring-dove sat
And mystic sentence spoke."

Byron alludes to the oracle of Delphi where, speaking of
Rousseau, whose writings he conceives did much to bring on the
French revolution, he says,

"For then he was inspired, and from him came,
As from the Pythian's mystic cave of yore,
Those oracles which set the world in flame,
Nor ceased to burn till kingdoms were no more."

Chapter XXVIII
Origin of Mythology   Statues of Gods and Goddesses   Poets of

Having reached the close of our series of stories of Pagan
mythology, an inquiry suggests itself.  "Whence came these
stories?  Have they a foundation in truth, or are they simply
dreams of the imagination?"  Philosophers have suggested various
theories on the subject of which we shall give three or four.

1.  The Scriptural theory; according to which all mythological
legends are derived from the narratives of Scripture, though the
real facts have been disguised and altered.  Thus Deucalion is
only another name for Noah, Hercules for Samson, Arion for Jonah,
etc.  Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World, says,
"Jubal, Tubal, and Tubal-Cain were Mercury, Vulcan, and Apollo,
inventors of Pasturage, Smithing, and Music.  The Dragon which
kept the golden apples was the serpent that beguiled Eve.
Nimrod's tower was the attempt of the Giants against Heaven.
There are doubtless many curious coincidences like these, but the
theory cannot without extravagance be pushed so far as to account
for any great proportion of the stories.

2.  The Historical theory; according to which all the persons
mentioned in mythology were once real human beings, and the
legends and fabulous traditions relating to them are merely the
additions and embellishments of later times.  Thus the story of
AEolus, the king and god of the winds, is supposed to have risen
from the fact that AEolus was the ruler of some islands in the
Tyrrhenian Sea, where he reigned as a just and pious king, and
taught the natives the use of sails for ships, and how to tell
from the signs of the atmosphere the changes of the weather and
the winds.  Cadmus, who, the legend says, sowed the earth with
dragon's teeth, from which sprang a crop of armed men, was in
fact an emigrant from Phoenicia, and brought with him into Greece
the knowledge of the letters of the alphabet, which he taught to
the natives.  From these rudiments of learning sprung
civilization, which the poets have always been prone to describe
as a deterioration of man's first estate, the Golden Age of
innocence and simplicity.

3.  The Allegorical theory supposes that all the myths of the
ancients were allegorical and symbolical, and contained some
moral, religious, or philosophical truth or historical fact,
under the form of an allegory, but came in process of time to be
understood literally.  Thus Saturn, who devours his own children,
is the same power whom the Greeks called Kronos (Time), which may
truly be said to destroy whatever it has brought into existence.
The story of Io is interpreted in a similar manner.  Io is the
moon, and Argus the starry sky, which, as it were, keeps
sleepless watch over her.  The fabulous wanderings of Io
represent the continual revolutions of the moon, which also
suggested to Milton the same idea.

"To behold the wandering moon
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
In the heaven's wide, pathless way."
Il Penseroso

4.  The Astronomical theory supposes that the different stories
are corrupted versions of astronomical statements, of which the
true meaning was forgotten.  This theory is pushed to its extreme
by Dupuis, in his treatise "Sur tous les cultes."

5.  The Physical theory, according to which the elements of air,
fire, and water, were originally the objects of religious
adoration, and the principal deities were personifications of the
powers of nature.  The transition was easy from a personification
of the elements to the notion of supernatural beings presiding
over and governing the different objects of nature.  The Greeks,
whose imagination was lively, peopled all nature with invisible
beings, and supposed that every object, from the sun and sea to
the smallest fountain and rivulet, was under the care of some
particular divinity.  Wordsworth, in his Excursion, has
beautifully developed this view of Grecian mythology.

"In that fair clime the lonely herdsman, stretched
On the soft grass through half a summer's day,
With music lulled his indolent repose;
And, in some fit of weariness, if he,
When his own breath was silent, chanced to hear
A distant strain far sweeter than the sounds
Which his poor skill could make, his fancy fetched
Even from the blazing chariot of the sun
A beardless youth who touched a golden lute,
And filled the illumined groves with ravishment.
The mighty hunter, lifting up his eyes
Toward the crescent Moon, with grateful heart
Called on the lovely Wanderer who bestowed
That timely light to share his joyous sport;
And hence a beaming goddess with her nymphs
Across the lawn and through the darksome grove
(Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes
By echo multiplied from rock or cave)
Swept in the storm of chase, as moon and stars
Glance rapidly along the clouded heaven
When winds are blowing strong.  The traveller slaked
His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thanked
The Naiad.  Sunbeams upon distant hills
Gliding apace with shadows in their train,
Might with small help from fancy, be transformed
Into fleet Oreads sporting visibly.
The Zephyrs, fanning, as they passed, their wings,
Lacked not for love fair objects whom they wooed
With gentle whisper.  Withered boughs grotesque,
Stripped of their leaves and twigs by hoary age,
>From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth
In the low vale, or on steep mountain side;
And sometimes intermixed with stirring horns
Of the live deer, or goat's depending beard;
These were the lurking Satyrs, a wild brood
Of gamesome deities; or Pan himself,
The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring god."

All the theories which have bene mentioned are true to a certain
extent.  It would therefore be more correct to say that the
mythology of a nation has sprung from all these sources combined
than from any one in particular.  We may add also that there are
many myths which have risen from the desire of man to account for
those natural phenomena which he cannot understand; and not a few
have had their rise from a similar desire of giving a reason for
the names of places and persons.


Adequately to represent to the eye the ideas intended to be
conveyed to the mind under the several names of deities, was a
task which called into exercise the highest powers of genius and
art.  Of the many attempts FOUR have been most celebrated, the
first two known to us only by the descriptions of the ancients,
and by copies on gems, which are still preserved; the other two
still extant and the acknowledged masterpieces of the sculptor's


The statue of the Olympian Jupiter by Phidias was considered the
highest achievement of this department of Grecian art.  It was of
colossal dimensions, and was what the ancients called
"chryselephantine;" that is, composed of ivory and gold; the
parts representing flesh being of ivory laid on a core of wood or
stone, while the drapery and other ornaments were of gold.  The
height of the figure was forty feet, on a pedestal twelve feet
high.  The god was represented seated on this throne.  His brows
were crowned with a wreath of olive, and he held in his right
hand a sceptre, and in his left a statue of Victory.  The throne
was of cedar, adorned with gold and precious stones.

The idea which the artist essayed to embody was that of the
supreme deity of the Hellenic (Grecian) nation, enthroned as a
conqueror, in perfect majesty and repose, and ruling with a nod
the subject world.  Phidias avowed that he took his idea from the
representation which Homer gives in the first book of the Iliad,
in the passage thus translated by Pope:

"He spoke and awful bends his sable brows,
Shakes his ambrosial curls and gives the nod,
The stamp of fate and sanction of the god.
High heaven with reverence the dread signal took,
And all Olympus to the centre shook."

(Cowper's version is less elegant, but truer to the original.

"He ceased, and under his dark brows the nod
Vouchsafed of confirmation.  All around
The sovereign's everlasting head his curls
Ambrosial shook, and the huge mountain reeled."

It may interest our readers to see how this passage appears in
another famous version, that which was issued under the name of
Tickell, contemporaneously with Pope's, and which, being by many
attributed to Addison, led to the quarrel which ensued between
Addison and Pope.

"This said, his kingly brow the sire inclined;
The large black curls fell awful from behind,
Thick shadowing the stern forehead of the god;
Olympus trembled at the almighty nod.")


This was also the work of Phidias.  It stood in the Parthenon, or
temple of Minera at Athens.  The goddess was represented
standing.  In one hand she held a spear, in the other a statue of
Victory.  Her helmet, highly decorated, was surmounted by a
Sphinx.  The statue was forty feet in height, and, like the
Jupiter, composed of ivory and gold.  The eyes were of marble,
and probably painted to represent the iris and pupil.  The
Parthenon in which this statue stood was also constructed under
the direction and superintendence of Phidias.  Its exterior was
enriched with sculptures, many of them from the hand of Phidias.
The Elgin marbles now in the British Museum are a part of them.

Both the Jupiter and Minerva of Phidias are lost, but there is
good ground to believe that we have, in several extant statues
and busts, the artist's conceptions of the countenances of both.
They are characterized by grave and dignified beauty, and freedom
from any transient expression, which in the language of art is
called REPOSE.


The Venus of the Medici is so called from its having been in the
possession of the princes of that name in Rome when it first
attracted attention, about two hundred years ago.  An inscription
on the base records it to be the work of Cleomenes, an Athenian
sculptor of 200 B.C., but the authenticity of the inscription is
doubtful.  There is a story that the artist was employed by
public authority to make a statue exhibiting the perfection of
female beauty, and to aid him in his task, the most perfect forms
the city could supply were furnished him for models.  It is this
which Thomson alludes to in his Summer.

"So stands the statue that enchants the world;
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast,
The mingled beauties of exulting Greece."

Byron also alludes to this statue.  Speaking of the Florence
Museum, he says:

"There too the goddess loves in stone, and fills
The air around with beauty;"

And in the next stanza,

"Blood, pulse, and breast confirm the Dardan shepherd's prize."

This last allusion is explained in Chapter XX.


The most highly esteemed of all the remains of ancient sculpture
is the statue of Apollo, called the Belvedere, from the name of
the apartment of the Pope's palace at Rome, in which it is
placed.  The artist is unknown.  It is supposed to be a work of
Roman art, of about the first century of our era.  It is a
standing figure, in marble, more than seven feet high, naked
except for the cloak which is fastened around the neck and hangs
over the extended left arm.  It is supposed to represent the god
in the moment when he has shot the arrow to destroy the monster
Python (See Chapter II).  The victorious divinity is in the act
of stepping forward.  The left arm which seems to have held the
bow is outstretched, and the head is turned in the same
direction.  In attitude and proportion the graceful majesty of
the figure is unsurpassed.  The effect is completed by the
countenance, where, on the perfection of youthful godlike beauty
there dwells the consciousness of triumphant power.


The Diana of the hind, in the palace of the Louvre, may be
considered the counterpart to the Apollo Belvedere.  The attitude
much resembles that of the Apollo, the sizes correspond and also
the style of execution.  It is a work of the highest order,
though by no means equal to the Apollo.  The attitude is that of
hurried and eager motion, the face that of a huntress in the
excitement of the chase.  The left hand is extended over the
forehead of the Hind which runs by her side, the right arm
reaches backward over the shoulder to draw an arrow from the


Of the Venus of Melos, perhaps the most famous of our statues of
mythology, very little is known.  There are many indeed who
believe that it is not a statue of Venus at all.

It was found in the year 1820 in the Island of Melos by a
peasant, who sold it to the French consul at the place.  The
statue was standing in the theatre, which had been filled up with
rubbish in the course of centuries, and when discovered was
broken in several places, and some of the pieces were gone.
These missing pieces, notably the two arms, have been restored in
various ways by modern artists.  As has been said above, there is
a controversy as to whether the statue represents Venus or some
other goddess.  Much has been written on each side, but the
question still remains unsettled.  The general opinion of those
who contend that it is not Venus is that it is a statue or Nike
or Victory.


Homer, from whose poems of the Iliad and Odyssey we have taken
the chief part of our chapters of the Trojan war and the return
of the Grecians, is almost as mythical a personage as the heroes
he celebrates.  The traditionary story is that he was a wandering
minstrel, blind and old, who travelled from place to place
singing his lays to the music of his harp, in the courts of
princes or the cottages of peasants, and dependent upon the
voluntary offerings of his hearers for support.  Byron calls him
"The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle," and a well-known
epigram, alluding to the uncertainty of the fact of his
birthplace, says,

"Seven wealthy towns contend for Homer dead,
Through which the living Homer begged his bread."

An older version is,

"Seven cities warred for Homer being dead,
Who living had no roof to shroud his head."

These lines are by Thomas Heywood; the others are ascribed to
Thomas Seward.

These seven cities were Smyrna, Scio, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis,
Argos, and Athens.

Modern scholars have doubted whether the Homeric poems are the
work of any single mind.  This arises from the difficulty of
believing that poems of such length could have been committed to
writing at so early an age as that usually assigned to these, an
age earlier than the date of any remaining inscriptions or coins,
and when no materials, capable of containing such long
productions were yet introduced into use.  On the other hand it
is asked how poems of such length could have been handed down
from age to age by means of the memory alone.  This is answered
by the statement that there was a professional body of men,
called Rhapsodists, who recited the poems of others, and whose
business it was to commit to memory and rehearse for pay the
national and patriotic legends.

The prevailing opinion of the learned, at this time, seems to be
that the framework and much of the structure of the poems belong
to Homer, but that there are numerous interpolations and
additions by other hands.

The date assigned to Homer, on the authority of Herodotus, is 850
B.C., but a range of two or three centuries must be given for the
various conjectures of critics.


Virgil, called also by his surname, Maro, from whose poem of the
AEneid we have taken the story of AEneas, was one of the great
poets who made the reign of the Roman emperor, Augustus, so
celebrated, under the name of the Augustan age.  Virgil was born
in Mantua in the year 70 B.C.  His great poem is ranked next to
those of Homer, in the highest class of poetical composition, the
Epic.  Virgil is far inferior to Homer in originality and
invention, but superior to him in correctness and elegance.  To
critics of English lineage Milton alone of modern poets seems
worthy to be classed with these illustrious ancients.  His poem
of Paradise Lost, from which we have borrowed so many
illustrations, is in many respects equal, in some superior, to
either of the great works of antiquity.  The following epigram of
Dryden characterizes the three poets with as much truth as it is
usual to find in such pointed criticism:


"Three poets in three different ages born.
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of soul surpassed,
The next in majesty, in both the last.
The force of nature could no further go;
To make a third she joined the other two."

>From Cowper's Table Talk:

"Ages elapsed ere Homer's lamp appeared,
And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard.
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, asked ages more.
Thus genius rose and set at ordered times,
And shot a dayspring into distant climes,
Ennobling every region that he chose;
He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose,
And, tedious years of Gothic darkness past,
Emerged all splendor in our isle at last.
Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main,
Then show far off their shining plumes again."


Often alluded to in poetry by his other name of Naso, was born in
the year 43 B.C.  He was educated for public life and held some
offices of considerable dignity, but poetry was his delight, and
he early resolved to devote himself to it.  He accordingly sought
the society of the contemporary poets, and was acquainted with
Horace and saw Virgil, though the latter died when Ovid was yet
too young and undistinguished to have formed his acquaintance.
Ovid spent an easy life at Rome in the enjoyment of a competent
income.  He was intimate with the family of Augustus, the
emperor, and it is supposed that some serious offence given to
some member of that family was the cause of an event which
reversed the poet's happy circumstances and clouded all the
latter portion of his life.  At the age of fifty he was banished
from Rome, and ordered to betake himself to Tomi, on the borders
of the Black Sea.  Here, among the barbarous people and in a
severe climate, the poet, who had been accustomed to all the
pleasures of a luxurious capital and the society of his most
distinguished contemporaries, spent the last ten years of his
life, worn out with grief and anxiety.  His only consolation in
exile was to address his wife and absent friends, and his letters
were all poetical.  Though these poems (The Tristia and Letters
from Pontus) have no other topic than the poet's sorrows, his
exquisite taste and fruitful invention have redeemed them from
the charge of being tedious, and they are read with pleasure and
even with sympathy.

The two great works of Ovid are his Metamorphoses and his Fasti.
They are both mythological poems, and from the former we have
taken most of our stories of Grecian and Roman mythology.  A late
writer thus characterizes these poems:

     "The rich mythology of Greece furnished Ovid, as it may
still furnish the poet, the painter, and the sculptor, with
materials for his art.  With exquisite taste, simplicity, and
pathos he has narrated the fabulous traditions of early ages, and
given to them that appearance of reality which only a master-hand
could impart.  His pictures of nature are striking and true; he
selects with care that which is appropriate; he rejects the
superfluous; and when he has completed his work, it is neither
defective nor redundant.  The Metamorphoses are read with
pleasure by youth, and are re-read in more advanced age with
still greater delight.  The poet ventured to predict that his
poem would survive him, and be read wherever the Roman name was

The prediction above alluded to is contained in the closing lines
of the Metamorphoses, of which we give a literal translation

"And now I close my work, which not the ire
Of Jove, nor tooth of time, nor sword, nor fire
Shall bring to nought.  Come when it will that day
Which o'er the body, not the mind, has sway,
And snatch the remnant of my life away,
My better part above the stars shall soar,
And my renown endure for evermore.
Where'er the Roman arms and arts shall spread,
There by the people shall my book be read;
And, if aught true in poet's visions be,
My name and fame have immortality."

Chapter XXIX
Modern Monsters:   The Phoenix   Basilisk   Unicorn   Salamander

There is a set of imaginary beings which seem to have been the
successors of the "Gorgons, Hydras, and Chimeras dire" of the old
superstitions, and, having no connection with the false gods of
Paganism, to have continued to enjoy an existence in the popular
belief after Paganism was superseded by Christianity.  They are
mentioned perhaps by the classical writers, but their chief
popularity and currency seem to have been in more modern times.
We seek our accounts of them not so much in the poetry of the
ancients, as in the old natural history books and narrations of
travellers.  The accounts which we are about to give are taken
chiefly from the Penny Cyclopedia.


Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix as follows: "Most beings
spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which
reproduces itself.  The Assyrians call it the Phoenix.  It does
not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous
gums.  When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a
nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm-tree.  In
this it collects cinnamon, and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these
materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying,
breathes out its last breath amidst odors.  From the body of the
parent bird a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as
long a life as its predecessor.   When this has grown up and
gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its
own cradle and its parent's sepulchre) and carries it to the city
of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the

Such is the account given by a poet.  Now let us see that of a
philosophic historian.  Tacitus says, "In the consulship of
Paulus Fabius (A.D. 34), the miraculous bird known to the world
by the name of Phoenix, after disappearing for a series of ages,
revisited Egypt.  It was attended in its flight by a group of
various birds, all attracted by the novelty, and gazing with
wonder at so beautiful an appearance."  He then gives an account
of the bird, not varying materially from the preceding, but
adding some details.  "The first care of the young bird as soon
as fledged and able to trust to his wings is to perform the
obsequies of his father.  But this duty is not undertaken rashly.
He collects a quantity of myrrh, and to try his strength makes
frequent excursions with a load on his back.  When he has gained
sufficient confidence in his own vigor, he takes up the body of
his father and flies with it to the altar of the Sun, where he
leaves it to be consumed in flames of fragrance."  Other writers
add a few particulars.  The myrrh is compacted in the form of an
egg, in which the dead Phoenix is enclosed.  From the mouldering
flesh of the dead bird a worm springs, and this worm, when grown
large, is transformed into a bird.  Herodotus DESCRIBES the bird,
though he says, "I have not seen it myself, except in a picture.
Part of his plumage is gold-colored, and part crimson; and he is
for the most part very much like an eagle in outline and bulk."

The first writer who disclaimed a belief in the existence of the
Phoenix was Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, published in
1646.  He was replied to a few years later by Alexander Ross, who
says, in answer to the objection of the Phoenix so seldom making
his appearance, "His instinct teaches him to keep out of the way
of the tyrant of the creation, MAN, for if he were to be got at
some wealthy glutton would surely devour him, though there were
no more in the world."

Dryden, in one of his early poems, has this allusion to the

"So when the new-born Phoenix first is seen,
Her feathered subjects all adore their queen,
And while she makes her progress through the East,
>From every grove her numerous train's increased;
Each poet of the air her glory sings,
And round him the pleased audience clap their wings."

Milton, in Paradise lost, Book V, compares the angel Raphael
descending to earth to a Phoenix:

"Down thither, prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing,
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A Phoenix, gazed by all; as that sole bird
When, to enshrine his relics in the Sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies."


This animal was called the king of the serpents.  In confirmation
of his royalty, he was said to be endowed with a crest or comb
upon the head, constituting a crown.  He was supposed to be
produced from the egg of a cock hatched under toads or serpents.
There were several species of this animal.  One species burned up
whatever they approached; a second were a kind of wandering
Medusa's heads, and their look caused an instant horror, which
was immediately followed by death.  In Shakespeare's play of
Richard the Third, Lady Anne, in answer to Richard's compliment
on her eyes, says, "Would they were basilisk's, to strike thee

The basilisks were called kings of serpents because all other
serpents and snakes, behaving like good subjects, and wisely not
wishing to be burned up or struck dead, fled the moment they
heard the distant hiss of their king, although they might be in
full feed upon the most delicious prey, leaving the sole
enjoyment of the banquet to the royal monster.

The Roman naturalist Pliny thus describes him: "He does not impel
his body like other serpents, by a multiplied flexion, but
advances lofty and upright.  He kills the shrubs, not only by
contact but by breathing on them, and splits the rocks, such
power of evil is there in him. It was formally believed that if
killed by a spear from on horseback the power of the poison
conducted through the weapon killed not only the rider but the
horse also.  To this Lucan alludes in these lines:

"What though the Moor the basilisk hath slain,
And pinned him lifeless to the sandy plain,
Up through the spear the subtle venom flies,
The hand imbibes it, and the victor dies."

Such a prodigy was not likely to be passed over in the legends of
the saints.  Accordingly we find it recorded that a certain holy
man going to a fountain in the desert suddenly beheld a basilisk.
He immediately raised his eyes to heaven, and with a pious appeal
to the Deity, laid the monster dead at his feet.

These wonderful powers of the basilisk are attested by a host of
learned persons, such as Galen, Avicenna, Scaliger, and others.
Occasionally one would demur to some part of the tale while he
admitted the rest.  Jonston, a learned physician, sagely remarks,
"I would scarcely believe that it kills with its look, for who
could have seen it and lived to tell the story?"  The worthy sage
was not aware that those who went to hunt the basilisk of this
sort, took with them a mirror, which reflected back the deadly
glare upon its author, and by a kind of poetical justice slew the
basilisk with his own weapon.

But what was to attack this terrible and unapproachable monster?
There is an old saying that "everything has its enemy," and the
cockatrice quailed before the weasel.  The basilisk might look
daggers, the weasel cared not, but advanced boldly to the
conflict.  When bitten, the weasel retired for a moment to eat
some rue, which was the only plant the basilisks could not
wither, returned with renewed strength and soundness to the
charge, and never left the enemy till he was stretched dead on
the plain.  The monster, too, as if conscious of the irregular
way in which he came into the world, was supposed to have a great
antipathy to a cock; and well he might, for as soon as he heard
the cock crow he expired.

The basilisk was of some use after death.  Thus we read that its
carcass was suspended in the temple of Apollo, and in private
houses, as a sovereign remedy against spiders, and that it was
also hung up in the temple of Diana, for which reason no swallow
ever dared enter the sacred place.

The reader will, we apprehend, by this time have had enough of
absurdities, but still he may be interested to know that these
details come from the work of one who was considered in his time
an able and valuable writer on Natural History.  Ulysses
Aldrovandus was a celebrated naturalist of the sixteenth century,
and his work on natural history, in thirteen folio volumes,
contains with much that is valuable a large proportion of fables
and inutilities.  In particular he is so ample on the subject of
the cock and the bull, that from his practice all rambling,
gossiping tales of doubtful credibility are called COCK AND BULL
STORIES.  Still he is to be remembered with respect as the
founder of a botanic garden, and one of the leaders in the modern
habit of making scientific collections for research and inquiry.

Shelley, in his Ode to Naples, full of the enthusiasm excited by
the intelligence of the proclamation of a Constitutional
Government at Naples, in 1820, thus uses an allusion to the

"What though Cimmerian anarchs dare blaspheme
Freedom and thee?  A new Actaeon's error
Shall theirs have been,   devoured by their own bounds!
Be thou like the imperial basilisk,
Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!
Gaze on oppression, till at that dread risk,
Aghast she pass from the earth's disk.
Fear not, but gaze,   for freemen mightier grow,
And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe."


Pliny, the Roman naturalist, out of whose account of the unicorn
most of the modern unicorns have been described and figured,
records it as "a very ferocious beast, similar in the rest of its
body to a horse, with the head of a deer, the feet of an
elephant, the tail of a boar, a deep bellowing voice, and a
single black horn, two cubits in length, standing out in the
middle of its forehead."  He adds that "it cannot be taken
alive;" and some such excuse may have been necessary in those
days for not producing the living animal upon the arena of the

The unicorn seems to have been a sad puzzle to the hunters, who
hardly knew how to come at so valuable a piece of game.  Some
described the horn as moveable at the will of the animal, a kind
of small sword in short, with which ho hunter who was not
exceedingly cunning in fence could have a chance.  Others
maintained that all the animal's strength lay in its horn, and
that when hard pressed in pursuit, it would throw itself from the
pinnacle of the highest rocks horn foremost, so as to pitch upon
it, and then quietly march off not a whit the worse for its fall.

But it seems they found out how to circumvent the poor unicorn at
last.  They discovered that it was a great lover of purity and
innocence, so they took the field with a young VIRGIN, who was
placed in the unsuspecting admirer's way.  When the unicorn spied
her, he approached with all reverence, couched beside her, and
laying his head in her lap, fell asleep.  The treacherous virgin
then gave a signal, and the hunters made in and captured the
simple beast.

Modern zoologists, disgusted as they well may be with such fables
as these, disbelieve generally the existence of the unicorn.  Yet
there are animals bearing on their heads a bony protuberance more
or less like a horn, which may have given rise to the story.  The
rhinoceros horn, as it is called, is such a protuberance, though
it does not exceed a few inches in height, and is far from
agreeing with the descriptions of the horn of the unicorn.  The
nearest approach to a horn in the middle of the forehead is
exhibited in the bony protuberance on the forehead of the
giraffe; but this also is short and blunt, and is not the only
horn of the animal, but a third horn standing in front of the two
others.  In fine, though it would be presumptuous to deny the
existence of a one-horned quadruped other than the rhinoceros, it
may be safely stated that the insertion of a long and solid horn
in the living forehead of a horse-like or deer-like animal, is as
near an impossibility as any thing can be.


The following is from the Life of Benvenuto Cellini, an Italian
artist of the sixteenth century, written by himself, "When I was
about five years of age, my father happening to be in a little
room in which they had been washing, and where there was a good
fire of oak burning, looked into the flames and saw a little
animal resembling a lizard, which could live in the hottest part
of that element.  Instantly perceiving what it was he called for
my sister and me, and after he had shown us the creature, he gave
me a box on the ear.  I fell a crying, while he, soothing me with
caresses, spoke these words: 'My dear child, I do not give you
that blow for any fault you have committed, but that you may
recollect that the little creature you see in the fire is a
salamander; such a one as never was beheld before to my
knowledge.'  So saying he embraced me, and gave me some money."

It seems unreasonable to doubt a story of which signor Cellini
was both an eye and ear witness.  Add to which the authority of
numerous sage philosophers, at the head of whom are Aristotle and
Pliny, affirms this power of the salamander.  According to them,
the animal not only resists fire, but extinguishes it, and when
he sees the flame, charges it as an enemy which he well knows how
to vanquish.

That the skin of an animal which could resist the action of fire
should be considered proof against that element, is not to be
wondered at.  We accordingly find that a cloth made of the skins
of salamanders (for there really is such an animal, a kind of
lizard) was incombustible, and very valuable for wrapping up such
articles as were too precious to be intrusted to any other
envelopes.  These fire-proof cloths were actually produced, said
to be made of salamander's wool, though the knowing ones detected
that the substance of which they were composed was Asbestos, a
mineral, which is in fine filaments capable of being woven into a
flexible cloth.

The foundation of the above fables is supposed to be the fact
that the salamander really does secrete from the pores of his
body a milky juice, which, when he is irritated, is produced in
considerable quantity, and would doubtless, for a few moments,
defend the body from fire.  Then it is a hibernating animal, and
in winter retires to some hollow tree or other cavity, where it
coils itself up and remains in a torpid state till the spring
again calls it forth.  It may therefore sometimes be carried with
the fuel to the fire, and wake up only time enough to put forth
all its faculties for its defence.  Its viscous juice would do
good service, and all who profess to have seen it acknowledge
that it got out of the fire as fast as its legs could carry it;
indeed too fast for them ever to make prize of one, except in one
instance, and in that one, the animal's feet and some parts of
its body were badly burned.

Dr. Young, in the Night Thoughts, with more quaintness than good
taste, compares the sceptic who can remain unmoved in the
contemplation of the starry heavens, to a salamander unwarmed in
the fire:

"An undevout astronomer is mad!
*    *    *    *    *    *
Oh, what a genius must inform the skies!
And is Lorenzo's salamander-heart
Cold and untouched amid these sacred fires?"

Chapter XXX
Eastern Mythology   Zoroaster   Hindu Mythology   Castes   Buddha
  Grand Lama

During the last fifty years new attention has been paid to the
systems of religion of the Eastern world, especially to that of
Zoroaster among the Persians, and that which is called Brahmanism
and the rival system known as Buddhism in the nations farther
east.  Especial interest belongs to these inquiries for us,
because these religions are religions of the great Aryan race to
which we belong.  The people among whom they were introduced all
used some dialect of the family of language to which our own
belongs.  Even young readers will take an interest in such books
as Clarke's Great Religions and Johnson's Oriental Religions,
which are devoted to careful studies of them.

Our knowledge of the religion of the ancient Persians is
principally derived from the Zendavesta, or sacred books of that
people.  Zoroaster was the founder of their religion, or rather
the reformer of the religion which preceded him. The time when he
lived is doubtful, but it is certain that his system became the
dominant religion of Western Asia from the time of Cyrus (550
B.C.) to the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great.  Under
the Macedonian monarchy the doctrines of Zoroaster appear to have
been considerably corrupted by the introduction of foreign
opinions, but they afterwards recovered their ascendancy.

Zoroaster taught the existence of a supreme being, who created
two other mighty beings, and imparted to them so much of his own
nature as seemed good to him.  Of these, Ormuzd (called by the
Greeks Oromasdes) remained faithful to his creator, and was
regarded as the source of all good, while Ahriman (Arimanes)
rebelled, and became the author of all evil upon the earth.
Ormuzd created man, and supplied him with all the materials of
happiness; but Ahriman marred this happiness by introducing evil
into the world, and creating savage beasts and poisonous reptiles
and plants.  In consequence of this, evil and good are now
mingled together in every part of the world, and the followers of
good and evil   the adherents of Ormuzd and Ahriman   carry on
incessant war.  But this state of things will not last forever.
The time will come when the adherents of Ormuzd shall everywhere
be victorious, and Ahriman and his followers be consigned to
darkness forever.

The religious rites of the ancient Persians were exceedingly
simple.  They used neither temples, altars, nor statues, and
performed their sacrifices on the tops of mountains.  They adored
fire, light, and the sun, as emblems of Ormuzd, the source of all
light and purity, but did not regard them as independent deities.
The religious rites and ceremonies were regulated by the priests,
who were called Magi.  The learning of the Magi was connected
with astrology and enchantment, in which they were so celebrated
that their name was applied to all orders of magicians and

"As to the age of the books of the Zendavesta, and the period at
which Zoroaster lived, there is the greatest difference of
opinion.  He is mentioned by Plato, who speaks of 'the magic (or
religious doctrines) of Zoroaster the Ormazdian.'  As Plato
speaks of his religion as something established in the form of
Magism, or the system of the Medes in West Iran, which the Avesta
appears to have originated in Bactria, or East Iran, this already
carries the age of Zoroaster back to at least the sixth or
seventh century before Christ.
     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"Professor Whitney of New Haven places the epoch of Zoroaster at
'least B.C. 1000,' and adds that all attempts to reconstruct
Persian chronology or history prior to the reign of the first
Sassanid have been relinquished as futile.  Dollinger thinks he
may have been 'somewhat later than Moses, perhaps about B.C.
1300,' but says 'it is impossible to fix precisely' when he
lived.  Rawlinson merely remarks that Berosus places him anterior
to B.C. 2234.  Haug is inclined to date the Gathas, the oldest
songs of the Avesta, as early as the time of Moses.  Rapp, after
a thorough comparison of ancient writers, concludes that
Zoroaster lived B.C. 1200 or 1300.  In this he agrees with
Duncker, who, as we have seen, decided upon the same date.  It is
not far from the period given by the oldest Greek writer who
speaks of Zoroaster,   Xanthus of Sardis, a contemporary of
Darius.  It is the period given by Cephalion, a writer of the
second century, who takes it from three independent sources.  We
have no sources now open to us which enable us to come nearer
than this to the time in which he lived.

"Nor is anything known with certainty of the place where he
lived, or the events of his life.  Most modern writers suppose
that he resided in Bactria.  Haug maintains that the language of
the Zend books is Bactrian.  A highly mythological and fabulous
life of Zoroaster, translated by Anquetil du Perron, called the
Zartrisht-Namah, describes him as going to Iran in his thirtieth
year, spending twenty years in the desert, working miracles
during ten years, and giving lessons of philosophy in Babylon,
with Pythagoras as his pupil.  All this is based on the theory
(now proved to be false) of his living in the time of Darius.
'The language of the Avesta,' says Max Muller, 'is so much more
primitive than the inscriptions of Darius, that many centuries
must have passed between the two periods represented by these two
strata of language.  These inscriptions are in the Achaemenian
dialect, which is the Zend in a later stage of linguistic
J. Freeman Clarke - Ten Great Religions

Wordsworth thus alludes to the worship of the Persians:

"  the Persian,   zealous to reject
Altar and Image, and the inclusive walls
And roofs of temples built by human hands,
The loftiest heights ascending from their tops,
With myrtle-wreathed Tiara on his brows,
Presented sacrifice to Moon and Stars
And to the Winds and mother Elements,
And the whole circle of the Heavens, for him
A sensitive existence and a God."
       Excursion, Book IV

In Childe Harold, Byron speaks thus of the Persian worship:

"Not gainly did the early Persian make
His altar the high places and the peak
Of earth o'ergazing mountains, and thus take
A fit and unwalled temple, there to seek
The Spirit, in whose honor shrines are weak,
Upreared of human hands.  Come and compare
Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek,
With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer."
  III., 91.

The religion of Zoroaster continued to flourish even after the
introduction of Christianity, and in the third century was the
dominant faith of the East, till the rise of the Mahometan power
and the conquest of Persia by the Arabs in the seventh century,
who compelled the greater number of the Persians to renounce
their ancient faith.  Those who refused to abandon the religion
of their ancestors fled to the deserts of Kerman and to
Hindustan, where they still exist under the name of Parsees, a
name derived from Pars, the ancient name of Persia.  The Arabs
call them Guebers, from an Arabic word signifying unbelievers.
At Bombay the Parsees are at this day a very active, intelligent,
and wealthy class.  For purity of life, honesty, and conciliatory
manners, they are favorably distinguished.  They have numerous
temples to Fire, which they adore as the symbol of the divinity.

The Persian religion makes the subject of the finest tale in
Moore's Lalla Rookh, the Fire Worshippers.  The Gueber chief

"Yes!  I am of that impious race,
Those slaves of Fire, that moan and even
Hail their creator's dwelling place
Among the living lights of heaven;
Yes!  I am of that outcast crew
To lean and to vengeance true,
Who curse the hour your Arabs came
To desecrate our shrines of flame,
And swear before God's burning eye,
To break our country's chains or die."


The religion of the Hindus is professedly founded on the Vedas.
To these books of their scripture they attach the greatest
sanctity, and state that Brahma himself composed them at the
creation.  But the present arrangement of the Vedas is attributed
to the sage Vyasa, about five thousand years ago.

The Vedas undoubtedly teach the belief of one supreme God.  The
name of this deity is Brahma.  His attributes are represented by
the three personified powers of CREATION, PRESERVATION, and
DESTRUCTION, which, under the respective names of Brahma, Vishnu,
and Siva, form the TRIMURTI or triad of principal Hindu gods.  Of
the inferior gods the most important are, 1. Indra, the god of
heaven, of thunder, lightning, storm, and rain; 2. Agni, the god
of fire; 3. Yana, the god of the infernal regions; 4. Surya, the
god of the sun.

Brahma is the creator of the universe, and the source from which
all the individual deities have sprung, and into which all will
ultimately be absorbed.  "As milk changes to curd, and water to
ice, so is Brahma variously transformed and diversified, without
aid of exterior means of any sort.  The human soul, according to
the Vedas, is a portion of the supreme ruler, as a spark is of
the fire.

"BRAHMA, at first a word meaning prayer and devotion, becomes in
the laws of Manu the primal God, first-born of the creation, from
the self-existent being, in the form of a golden egg.  He became
the creator of all things by the power of prayer.  In the
struggle for ascendancy, which took place between the priests and
the warriors, Brahma naturally became the deity of the former.
But, meantime, as we have seen, the worship or Vishnu had been
extending itself in one region, and that of Siva in another.
Then took place those mysterious wars between the kings of the
Solar and Lunar races, of which the great epics contain all that
we know.  And at the close of these wars a compromise was
apparently accepted, by which Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva were
united in one supreme God, as creator, preserver, and destroyer,
all in one.

It is almost certain that this Hindoo Triad was the result of an
ingenious and successful attempt, on the part of the Brahmans, to
unite all classes of worshippers in India against the Buddhists.
In this sense the Brahmans edited anew the Mahabharata, inserting
in that epic passages extolling Vishnu in the form of Krishna.
The Greek accounts of India which followed the invasion of
Alexander speak of the worship of Hercules as prevalent in the
East, and by Hercules they apparently mean the god Krishna.  The
struggle between the Brahmans and Buddhists lasted during nine
centuries (from A.D. 500 to A.D. 1400), ending with the total
expulsion of Buddhism and the triumphant establishment of the
Triad as the worship of India.

"Before this Triad or Trimurti (of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva)
there seems to have been another, consisting of Agni, Indra, and
Surya.  This may have given the hint of the second Triad, which
distributed among the three gods the attributes or Creation,
Destruction, and Renovation.  Of these Brahma, the creator,
ceased soon to be popular, and the worship of Siva and Vishnu as
Krishna remain as the popular religion of India. . . ..

"But all the efforts of Brahmanism could not arrest the natural
development of the system.  It passed on into polytheism and
idolatry.  The worship of India for many centuries has been
divided into a multitude of sects.  While the majority of the
Brahmans still profess to recognize the equal divinity of Brahma,
Vishnu, and Siva, the mass of the people worship Krishna, Rama,
the Singam, and many other gods and idols.  There are Hindoo
Atheists, who revile the Vedas; there are the Kabirs, who are a
sort of Hindoo Quakers, and oppose all worship; the RAMANUJAS, an
ancient sect of Vishnu worshippers; the RAMAVATS, living in
monasteries; the PANTHIS, who oppose all austerities; the
MAHARAJAS, whose religion consists with great licentiousness.
Most of these are worshippers of Vishnu or of Siva, for Brahma-
worship has wholly disappeared."  J.  Freeman Clarke.   TEN GREAT


Vishnu occupies the second place in the triad of the Hindus, and
is the personification of the preserving principle.  To protect
the world in various epochs of danger, Vishnu descended to the
earth in different incarnations, or bodily forms, which descents
are called Avatars.  They are very numerous, but ten are more
particularly specified.  The first Avatar was as Matsya, the
Fish, under which form Vishnu preserved Manu, the ancestor of the
human race, during a universal deluge.  The second Avatar was in
the form of a Tortoise, which form he assumed to support the
earth when the gods were churning the sea for the beverage of
immortality, Amrita.

We may omit the other Avatars, which were of the same general
character, that is, interpositions to protect the right or to
punish wrong-doers, and come to the ninth, which is the most
celebrated of the Avatars of Vishnu, in which he appeared in the
human form of Krishna, an invincible warrior, who by his exploits
relieved the earth from the tyrants who oppressed it.

Buddha is by the followers of the Brahmanical religion regarded
as a delusive incarnation of Vishnu, assumed by him in order to
induce the Asuras, opponents of the gods, to abandon the sacred
ordinances of the Vedas, by which means they lost their strength
and supremacy.

Kalki is the name of the TENTH Avatar, in which Vishnu will
appear at the end of the present age of the world to destroy all
vice and wickedness, and to restore mankind to virtue and purity.


Siva is the third person of the Hindu triad.  He is the
personification of the destroying principle.  Though the third
named, he is, in respect to the number of his worshippers and the
extension of his worship, before either of the others.  In the
Puranas (the scriptures of the modern Hindu religion) no allusion
is made to the original power of this god as a destroyer; as that
power is not to be called into exercise till after the expiration
of twelve millions of years, or when the universe will come to an
end; and Mahadeva (another name for Siva) is rather the
representative of regeneration than of destruction.

The worshippers of Vishnu and Siva form two sects, each of which
proclaims the superiority of its favorite deity, denying the
claims of the other, and Brahma, the creator, having finished his
work, seems to be regarded as no longer active, and has now only
one temple in India, while Mahadeva and Vishnu have many.  The
worshippers of Vishnu are generally distinguished by a greater
tenderness for life and consequent abstinence from animal food,
and a worship less cruel than that of the followers of Siva.


Whether the worshippers of Juggernaut are to be reckoned among
the followers of Vishnu or Siva, our authorities differ.  The
temple stands near the shore, about three hundred miles southwest
of Calcutta.  The idol is a carved block of wood, with a hideous
face, painted black, and a distended blood-red mouth.  On
festival days the throne of the image is placed on a tower sixty
feet high, moving on wheels.  Six long ropes are attached to the
tower, by which the people draw it along.  The priests and their
attendants stand round the throne on the tower, and occasionally
turn to the worshippers with songs and gestures.  While the tower
moves along numbers of the devout worshippers throw themselves on
the ground, in order to be crushed by the wheels, and the
multitude shout in approbation of the act, as a pleasing
sacrifice to the idol.  Every year, particularly at two great
festivals in March and July, pilgrims flock in crowds to the
temple.  Not less than seventy or eighty thousand people are said
to visit the place on these occasions, when all castes eat


The division of the Hindus into classes or castes, with fixed
occupations, existed from the earliest times.  It is supposed by
some to have been founded upon conquest, the first three castes
being composed of a foreign race, who subdued the natives of the
country and reduced them to an inferior caste.  Others trace it
to the fondness of perpetuating, by descent from father to son,
certain offices or occupations.

The Hindu tradition gives the following account of the origin of
the various castes.  At the creation Brahma resolved to give the
earth inhabitants who should be direct emanations from his own
body.  Accordingly from his mouth came forth the eldest born,
Brahma (the priest), to whom he confided the four Vedas; from his
right arm issued Shatriya (the warrior), and from his left, the
warrior's wife.  His thighs produced Vaissyas, male and female
(agriculturists and traders), and lastly from his feet sprang
Sudras (mechanics and laborers).

The four sons of Brahma, so significantly brought into the world,
became the fathers of the human race, and heads of their
respective castes.  They were commanded to regard the four Vedas
as containing all the rules of their faith, and all that was
necessary to guide them in their religious ceremonies.  They were
also commanded to take rank in the order of their birth, the
Brahmans uppermost, as having sprung from the head of Brahma.

A strong line of demarcation is drawn between the first three
castes and the Sudras.  The former are allowed to receive
instruction from the Vedas, which is not permitted to the Sudras.
The Brahmans possess the privilege of teaching the Vedas, and
were in former times in exclusive possession of all knowledge.
Though the sovereign of the country was chosen from the Shatriya
class, also called Rajputs, the Brahmans possessed the real
power, and were the royal counsellors, the judges and magistrates
of the country; their persons and property were inviolable; and
though they committed the greatest crimes, they could only be
banished from the kingdom.  They were to be treated by sovereigns
with the greatest respect, for "a Brahman, whether learned or
ignorant, is a powerful divinity."

When the Brahman arrives at years of maturity it becomes his duty
to marry.  He ought to be supported by the contributions of the
rich, and not to be obliged to gain his subsistence by any
laborious or productive occupation.  But as all the Brahmans
could not he maintained by the working classes of the community,
it was found necessary to allow them to engage in productive

We need say little of the two intermediate classes, whose rank
and privileges may be readily inferred from their occupations.
The Sudras or fourth class are bound to servile attendance on the
higher classes, especially the Brahmans, but they may follow
mechanical occupations and practical arts, as painting and
writing, or become traders or husbandmen.  Consequently they
sometimes grow rich, and it will also sometimes happen that
Brahmans become poor.  That fact works its usual consequence, and
rich Sudras sometimes employ poor Brahmans in menial occupations.

There is another class lower even than the Sudras, for it is not
one of the original pure classes, but springs from an
unauthorized union of individuals of different castes.  These are
the Pariahs, who are employed in the lowest services and treated
with the utmost severity.  They are compelled to do what no one
else can do without pollution.  They are not only considered
unclean themselves, but they render unclean every thing they
touch.  They are deprived of all civil rights, and stigmatized by
particular laws, regulating their mode of life, their houses and
their furniture.  They are not allowed to visit the pagodas or
temples of the other castes, but have their own pagodas and
religious exercises.  They are not suffered to enter the houses
of the other castes; if it is done incautiously or from
necessity, the place must be purified by religious ceremonies.
They must not appear at public markets, and are confined to the
use of particular wells, which they are obliged to surround with
bones of animals, to warn others against using them.  They dwell
in miserable hovels, distant from cities and villages, and are
under no restrictions in regard to food, which last is not a
privilege, but a mark of ignominy, as if they were so degraded
that nothing could pollute them.  The three higher castes are
prohibited entirely the use of flesh.  The fourth is allowed to
eat all kinds except beef, but only the lowest caste is allowed
every kind of food without restrictions.


Buddha, whom the Vedas represent as a delusive incarnation of
Vishnu, is said by his followers to have been a mortal sage,
whose name was Gautama, called also by the complimentary epithets
of Sakyasinha, the Lion, and Buddha, the Sage.

By a comparison of the various epochs assigned to his birth, it
is inferred that he lived about one thousand years before Christ.

He was the son of a king; and when in conformity to the usage of
the country he was, a few days after his birth, presented before
the altar of a deity, the image is said to have inclined its
head, as a presage of the future greatness of the new-born
prophet.  The child soon developed faculties of the first order,
and became equally distinguished by the uncommon beauty of his
person.  No sooner had he grown to years of maturity than he
began to reflect deeply on the depravity and misery of mankind,
and he conceived the idea of retiring from society and devoting
himself to meditation.  His father in vain opposed this design.
Buddha escaped the vigilance of his guards, and having found a
secure retreat, lived for six years undisturbed in his devout
contemplations.  At the expiration of that period he came forward
at Benares as a religious teacher.  At first some who heard him
doubted of the soundness of his mind; but his doctrines soon
gained credit, and were propagated so rapidly that Buddha himself
lived to see them spread all over India.

The young prince distinguished himself by his personal and
intellectual qualities, but still more by his early piety.  It
appears from the laws of Manu that it was not unusual, in the
earliest periods of Brahmanism, for those seeking a superior
piety to turn hermits, and to live alone in the forest, engaged
in acts of prayer, meditation, abstinence, and the study of the
Vedas.  This practice, however, seems to have been confined to
the Brahmans.  It was, therefore, a grief to the king, when his
son, in the flower of his youth and highly accomplished in every
kingly faculty of body and mind, began to turn his thoughts
toward the life of an anchorite.

     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

He first visited the Brahmans, and listened to their doctrines,
but found no satisfaction therein.  The wisest among them could
not teach him true peace,   that profound inward rest, which was
already called Nirvana.  He was twenty-nine years old.  Although
disapproving of the Brahmanic austerities as an end, he practised
them during six years, in order to subdue the senses.  He then
became satisfied that the path to perfection did not lie that
way.  He therefore resumed his former diet and a more comfortable
mode of life, and so lost many disciples who had been attracted
by his amazing austerity.  Alone in his hermitage, he came at
last to that solid conviction, that KNOWLEDGE never to be shaken,
of the laws of things, which had seemed to him the only
foundation of a truly free life.  The spot where, after a week of
constant meditation, he at last arrived at this beatific vision,
became one of the most sacred places in India.  He was seated
under a tree, his face to the east, not having moved for a day
and night, when he attained the triple science, which was to
rescue mankind from its woes.  Twelve hundred years after the
death of the Buddha, a Chinese pilgrim was shown what then passed
for the sacred tree.

     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Having attained this inward certainty of vision, he decided to
teach the world his truth.  He knew well what it would bring him,
  what opposition, insult, neglect, scorn.  But he thought of
three classes of men: those who were already on the way to the
truth and did not need him; those who were fixed in error and
whom he could not help; and the poor doubters, uncertain of their
way.  It was to help these last, the doubters, that the Buddha
went forth to preach.  On his way to the holy city of India,
Benares, a serious difficulty arrested him at the Ganges, namely,
his having no money to pay the boatman for his passage.  At
Benares he made his first converts, "turning the wheel of the
law" for the first time.  His discourses are contained in the
sacred books of the Buddhists.  He converted great numbers, his
father among the rest, but met with fierce opposition from the
Hindu Scribes and Pharisees, the leading Brahmans.  So he lived
and taught, and died at the age of eighty years.

The Buddhists reject entirely the authority of the Vedas, and the
religious observances prescribed in them and kept by the Hindus.
They also reject the distinction of castes, and prohibit all
bloody sacrifices, and allow animal food.  Their priests are
chosen from all classes; they are expected to procure their
maintenance by perambulation and begging, and, among other
things, it is their duty to endeavor to turn to some use things
thrown aside as useless by others, and to discover the medicinal
power of plants.  But in Ceylon three orders of priests are
recognized; those of the highest order are usually men of high
birth and learning, and are supported at the principal temples,
most of which have been richly endowed by the former monarchs of
the country.

For several centuries after the appearance of Buddha, his sect
seems to have been tolerated by the Brahmans, and Buddhism
appears to have penetrated the peninsula of Hindustan in every
direction, and to have been carried to Ceylon, and to the eastern
peninsula.  But afterwards it had to endure in India a long
continued persecution, which ultimately had the effect of
entirely abolishing it in the country where it had originated,
but to scatter it widely over adjacent countries.  Buddhism
appears to have been introduced into China about the year 65 of
our era.  From China it was subsequently extended to Corea,
Japan, and Java.

The charming poem called the Light of Asia, by Mr. Edwin Arnold,
has lately called general attention to Buddhism.  The following
is an extract from it:

"Fondly Siddatha drew the proud head down
Patted the shining neck, and said 'Be still,
White Kantaka!  Be still, and bear me now
The farthest journey ever rider rode;
For this night take I horse to find the truth,
And where my quest will end yet know I not.
Save that it shall not end until I find.
Therefore to-night, good steed, be fierce and bold!
Let nothing stay thee, though a thousand blades
Deny the road!  Let neither wall nor moat
Forbid our flight!  Look!  If I touch thy flank
And cry, "On, Kantaka!" let whirlwinds lag
Behind thy course!  Be fire and air, my horse!
To stead thy lord, so shalt thou share with him
The greatness of this deed which helps the world;
For therefore ride I, not for men alone,
But for all things which, speechless, share our pain,
And have no hope, nor wit to ask for hope.
Now, therefore, hear thy master valorously!'"


It is a doctrine alike of the Brahminical Hindus and of the
Buddhist sect that the confinement of the human soul, an
emanation of the divine spirit, in a human body, is a state of
misery, and the consequence of frailties and sins committed
during former existences.  But they hold that some few
individuals have appeared on this earth from time to time, not
under the necessity of terrestrial existence, but who voluntarily
descend to the earth to promote the welfare of mankind.  These
individuals have gradually assumed the character of reappearances
of Buddha himself, in which capacity the line is continued till
the present day in the several Lamas of Thibet, China, and other
countries where Buddhism prevails.  In consequence of the
victories of Gengis Khan and his successors, the Lama residing in
Thibet was raised to the dignity of chief pontiff of the sect.  A
separate province was assigned to him as his own territory, and
besides his spiritual dignity, he became to a limited extent a
temporal monarch.  He is styled the Dalai Lama.

The first Christian missionaries who proceeded to Thibet were
surprised to find there in the heart of Asia a pontifical court
and several other ecclesiastical institutions resembling those of
the Roman Catholic church.  They found convents for priests and
nuns; also, processions and forms of religious worship, attended
with much pomp and splendor; and many were induced by these
similarities to consider Lamaism as a sort of degenerated
Christianity.  It is not improbable that the Lamas derived some
of these practices from the Nestorial Christians, who were
settled in Tartary when Buddhism was introduced into Thibet.


An early account, communicated probably by travelling merchants,
of a Lama or spiritual chief among the Tartars, seems to have
occasioned in Europe the report of a Presbyter or Prester John, a
Christian pontiff, resident in Upper Asia.  The Pope sent a
mission in search of him, as did also Louis IX of France, some
years later, but both missions were unsuccessful, though the
small communities of Nestorial Christians, which they did find,
served to keep up the belief in Europe that such a personage did
exist somewhere in the East.  At last in the fifteenth century, a
Portuguese traveller, Pedro Covilham, happening to hear that
there was a Christian prince in the country of the Abessines
(Abyssinia), not far from the Red Sea, concluded that this must
be the true Prester John.  He accordingly went thither, and
penetrated to the court of the king, whom he calls Negus.  Milton
alludes to him in Paradise Lost, Book XI, where, describing
Adam's vision of his descendants in their various nations and
cities, scattered over the face of the earth, he says,

"----- Nor did his eyes not ken
The empire of Negus, to his utmost port
Ercoco, and the less maritime kings,
Mombaza and Quiloa and Melind."

Chapter XXXI
Northern Mythology   Valhalla   The Valkyrior

The stories which have engaged our attention thus far relate to
the mythology of southern regions.  But there is another branch
of ancient superstitions which ought not to be entirely
overlooked, especially as it belongs to the nations from which
we, through our English ancestors, derive our origin.  It is that
of the northern nations called Scandinavians, who inhabited the
countries now known as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.
These mythological records are contained in two collections
called the Eddas, of which the oldest is in poetry and dates back
to the year 1056, the more modern, or prose Edda, being of the
date of 1640.

According to the Eddas there was once no heaven above nor earth
beneath, but only a bottomless deep, and a world of mist in which
flowed a fountain.  Twelve rivers issued from this fountain, and
when they had flowed far from their source, they froze into ice,
and one layer accumulating above another, the great deep was
filled up.

Southward from the world of mist was the world of light.  From
this flowed a warm wind upon the ice and melted it.  The vapors
rose in the air and formed clouds, from which sprang Ymir, the
Frost giant and his progeny, and the cow Audhumbla, whose milk
afforded nourishment and food to the giant.  The cow got
nourishment by licking the hoar frost and salt from the ice.
While she was one day licking the salt stones there appeared at
first the hair of a man, on the second day the whole head, and on
the third the entire form endowed with beauty, agility, and
power.  This new being was a god, from whom and his wife, a
daughter of the giant race, sprang the three brothers Odin, Vili,
and Ve.  They slew the giant Ymir, and out of his body formed the
earth, of his blood the seas, of his bones the mountains, of his
hair the trees, of his skull the heavens, and of his brain
clouds, charged with hail and snow.  Of Ymir's eyebrows the gods
formed Midgard (mid earth), destined to become the abode of man.

Odin then regulated the periods of day and night and the seasons
by placing in the heavens the sun and moon, and appointing to
them their respective courses.  As soon as the sun began to shed
its rays upon the earth, it caused the vegetable world to bud and
sprout.  Shortly after the gods had created the world they walked
by the side of the sea, pleased with their new work, but found
that it was still incomplete, for it was without human beings.
They therefore took an ash-tree and made a man out of it, and
they made a woman out of an alder, and called the man Aske and
the woman Embla.  Odin then gave them life and soul, Vili reason
and motion, and Ve bestowed upon them the senses, expressive
features, and speech.  Midgard was then given them as their
residence, and they became the progenitors of the human race.

The mighty ash-tree Ygdrasil was supposed to support the whole
universe.  It sprang from the body of Ymir, and had three immense
roots, extending one into Asgard (the dwelling of the gods), the
other into Jotunheim (the abode of the giants), and the third to
Niffleheim (the regions of darkness and cold).  By the side of
each of these roots is a spring, from which it is watered.  The
root that extends into Asgard is carefully tended by the three
Norns, goddesses who are regarded as the dispensers of fate.
They are Urdur (the past), Verdandi (the present), Skuld (the
future).  The spring at the Jotunheim side is Ymir's well, in
which wisdom and wit lie hidden, but that of Niffleheim feeds the
adder, Nidhogge (darkness), which perpetually gnaws at the root.
Four harts run across the branches of the tree and bite the buds;
they represent the four winds.  Under the tree lies Ymir, and
when he tries to shake off its weight the earth quakes.

Asgard is the name of the abode of the gods, access to which is
only gained by crossing the bridge, Bifrost (the rainbow).
Asgard consists of golden and silver palaces, the dwellings of
the gods, but the most beautiful of these is Valhalla, the
residence of Odin.  When seated on his throne he overlooks all
heaven and earth.  Upon his shoulders are the ravens Hugin and
Munin, who fly every day over the whole world, and on their
return report to him all they have seen and heard.  At his feet
lie his two wolves, Geri, and Freki, to whom Odin gives all the
meat that is set before him, for he himself stands in no need of
food.  Mead is for him both food and drink.  He invented the
Runic characters, and it is the business of the Norns to engrave
the runes of fate upon a metal shield.  From Odin's name, spelt
Wodin, as it sometimes is, came Wednesday, the name of the fourth
day of the week.

Odin is frequently called Alfadur (All-father), but this name is
sometimes used in a way that shows that the Scandinavians had an
idea of a deity superior to Odin, uncreated and eternal.


Valhalla is the great hall of Odin, wherein he feasts with his
chosen heroes, all those who have fallen bravely in battle, for
all who die a peaceful death are excluded.  The flesh of the boar
Schrimnir is served up to them, and is abundant for all.  For
although this boar is cooked every morning, he becomes whole
again every night.  For drink the heroes are supplied abundantly
with mead from the she-goat Heidrun.  When the heroes are not
feasting they amuse themselves with fighting.  Every day they
ride out into the court or field and fight until they cut each
other in pieces.  This is their pastime; but when meal-time
comes, they recover from their wounds and return to feast in


The Valkyrior are warlike virgins, mounted upon horses and armed
with helmets, shields, and spears.  Odin, who is desirous to
collect a great many heroes in Valhalla, to be able to meet the
giants in a day when the final contest must come, sends down to
every battle-field to make choice of those who shall be slain.
The Valkyrior are his messengers, and their name means "Choosers
of the slain."  When they ride forth on their errand their armor
shed a strange flickering light, which flashes up over the
northern skies, making what men call the "Aurora Borealis," or
"Northern Lights."  (Gray's ode, The Fatal Sisters, is founded on
this superstition.)

The following is by Matthew Arnold:

"-----He crew at dawn a cheerful note,
To wake the gods and heroes to their tasks
And all the gods and all the heroes woke.
And from their beds the heroes rose and donned
Their arms, and led their horses from the stall,
And mounted them, and in Valhalla's court
Were ranged; and then the daily fray began,
And all day long they there are hacked and hewn
'Mid dust and groans, and limbs lopped off, and blood;
But all at night return to Odin's hall
Woundless and fresh; such lot is theirs in heaven.
And the Valkyries on their steeds went forth
Toward earth and fights of men; and at their side
Skulda, the youngest of the Nornies, rode;
And over Bifrost, where is Heimdall's watch,
Past Midgard Fortress, down to Earth they came;
There through some battle-field, where men fall fast,
Their horses fetlock-deep in blood, they ride,
And pick the bravest warriors out for death,
Whom they bring back with them at night to heaven,
To glad the gods, and feast in Odin's hall."

This description of The Funeral of Balder is by William Morris:

Gazed through the cool dusk, till his eyes did rest
Upon the noble stories, painted fair
On the high panelling and roof-boards there;
For over the high sea, in his ship, there lay
The gold-haired Balder, god of the dead day,
The spring-flowers round his high pile, waiting there
Until the gods there to the torch should bear;
And they were wrought on this side and on that,
Drawing on towards him.  There was Frey, and sat
On the gold-bristled boar, who first they say
Ploughed the brown earth, and made it green for Frey;
Then came dark-bearded Niod; and after him
Freyia, thin-robed, about her ankles slim
The grey cats playing.  In another place
Thor's hammer gleamed o'er Thor's red-bearded face;
And Heimdal, with the old horn slung behind,
That in the god's dusk he shall surely wind,
Sickening all hearts with fear; and last of all,
Was Odin's sorrow wrought upon the wall.
As slow-paced, weary faced, he went along,
Anxious with all the tales of woe and wrong
His ravens, Thought and Memory, bring to him."


Thor, the thunderer, Odin's eldest son, is the strongest of gods
and men, and possesses three very precious things.  The first is
his hammer, Miolnir, which both the Frost and the Mountain giants
know to their cost, when they see it hurled against them in the
air, for it has split many a skull of their fathers and kindred.
When thrown, it returns to his hand of its own accord.  The
second rare thing he possesses is called the belt of strength.
When he girds it about him his divine might is doubled.  The
third, also very precious, is his iron gloves, which he puts on
whenever he would use his mallet efficiently.  From Thor's name
is derived our word Thursday.

This description of Thor is by Longfellow:

"I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!

"Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miolner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!

"These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever I brace it
Strength is redoubled!

"The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night wind,
Affrighting the nations!

"Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
ring in the thunder."

Frey is one of the most celebrated of the gods.  He presides over
rain and sunshine and all the fruits of the earth.  His sister
Freya is the most propitious of the goddesses.  She loves music,
spring, and flowers, and is particularly fond of the Elves
(fairies).  She is very fond of love-ditties, and all lovers
would do well to invoke her.

Bragi is the god of poetry, and his song records the deeds of
warriors.  His wife, Iduna, keeps in a box the apples which the
gods, when they feel old age approaching, have only to taste of
to become young again.

Heimdall is the watchman of the gods, and is therefore placed on
the borders of heaven to prevent the giants from forcing their
way over the bridge Bifrost (the rainbow.)  He requires less
sleep than a bird, and sees by night as well as by day a hundred
miles all around him.  So acute is his ear that no sound escapes
him, for he can even hear the grass grow and the wool on a
sheep's back.


There is another deity who is described as the calumniator of the
gods and the contriver of all fraud and mischief.  His name is
Loki.  He is handsome and well made, but of a very fickle mood
and  most evil disposition.  He is of the giant race, but forced
himself into the company of the gods, and seems to take pleasure
in bringing them into difficulties, and in extricating them out
of the danger by his cunning, wit, and skill.  Loki has three
children.  The first is the wolf Fenris, the second the Midgard
serpent, the third Hela (Death).  The gods were not ignorant that
these monsters were growing up, and that they would one day bring
much evil upon gods and men.  So Odin deemed it advisable to send
one to bring them to him.  When they came he threw the serpent
into that deep ocean by which the earth is surrounded.  But the
monster has grown to such an enormous size that holding his tail
in his mouth he encircles the whole earth.  Hela he cast into
Niffleheim, and gave her power over nine worlds or regions, into
which she distributes those who are sent to her; that is, all who
die of sickness or old age.  Her hall is called Elvidnia.  Hunger
is her table, Starvation her knife, Delay her man, Slowness her
maid, Precipice her threshold, Care her bed, and Burning-anguish
forms the hangings of her apartments.  She may easily be
recognized for her body is half flesh-color and half blue, and
she has a dreadfully stern and forbidding countenance.

The wolf Fenris gave the gods a great deal of trouble before they
succeeded in chaining him.  He broke the strongest fetters as if
they were made of cobwebs.  Finally the gods sent a messenger to
the mountain spirits, who made for them the chain called
Gleipnir.  It is fashioned of six things, viz., th noise made by
the footfall of a cat, the beards of women, the roots of stones,
the breath of fishes, the nerves (sensibilities) of bears, and
the spittle of birds.  When finished it was as smooth and soft as
a silken string.  But when the gods asked the wolf to suffer
himself to be bound with this apparently slight ribbon, he
suspected their design, fearing that it was made by enchantment.
But Tyr (the sword god), to quiet his suspicions, placed his hand
in Fenris' mouth.  Then the other gods bound the wolf with
Gleipnir.  But when the wolf found that he could not break his
fetters, and that the gods would not release him, he bit off
Tyr's hand, and he has ever since remained one-handed.


Once on a time, when the gods were constructing their abodes and
had already finished Midgard and Valhalla, a certain artificer
came and offered to build them a residence so well fortified that
they should be perfectly safe from the incursions of the Frost
giants and the giants of the mountains.  But he demanded for his
reward the goddess Freya, together with the sun and moon.  The
gods yielded to his terms provided he would finish the whole work
himself without any one's assistance, and all within the space of
one winter.  But if anything remained unfinished on the first day
of summer he should forfeit the recompense agreed on.  On being
told these terms the artificer stipulated that he should be
allowed the use of his horse Svadilfari, and this by the advice
of Loki was granted to him.  He accordingly set to work on the
first day of winter, and during the night let his horse draw
stone for the building.  The enormous size of the stones struck
the gods with astonishment, and they saw clearly that the horse
did one half more of the toilsome work than his mater.  Their
bargain, however, had been concluded, and confirmed by solemn
oaths, for without these precautions a giant would not have
thought himself safe among the gods, especially when Thor should
return from an expedition he had then undertaken against the evil

As the winter drew to a close, the building was far advanced, and
the bulwarks were sufficiently high and massive to render the
place impregnable.  In short, when it wanted but three days to
summer the only part that remained to be finished was the
gateway.  Then sat the gods on their seats of justice and entered
into consultation, inquiring of one another who among them could
have advised to give Freya away, or to plunge the heavens in
darkness by permitting the giant to carry away the sun and the

They all agreed that no one but Loki, the author of so many evil
deeds, could have given such bad counsel, and that he should be
put to a cruel death if he did not contrive some way to prevent
the artificer from completing his task and obtaining the
stipulated recompense.  They proceeded to lay hands on Loki, who
in his fright promised upon oath that, let it cost what it would,
he would so manage matters that the man should lose his reward.
That very night when the man went with Svadilfari for building-
stone, a mare suddenly ran out of a forest and began to neigh.
The horse thereat broke loose and ran after the mare into the
forest, which obliged the man also to run after his horse, and
thus between one and another the whole night was lost, so that at
dawn the work had not made the usual progress.  The man, seeing
that he must fail of completing his task, resumed his own
gigantic stature, and the gods now clearly perceived that it was
in reality a mountain giant who had come amongst them.  Feeling
no longer bound by their oaths, they called on Thor, who
immediately ran to their assistance, and lifting up his mallet,
paid the workman his wages, not with the sun and moon, and not
even by sending him back to Jotunheim, for with the first blow he
shattered the giant's skull to pieces and hurled him headlong
into Niffleheim.


Once upon a time it happened that Thor's hammer fell into the
possession of the giant Thrym, who buried it eight fathoms deep
under the rocks of Jotunheim.  Thor sent Loki to negotiate with
Thrym, but he could only prevail so far as to get the giant's
promise to restore the weapon if Freya would consent to be his
bride.  Loki returned and reported the result of his mission, but
the goddess of love was quite horrified at the idea of bestowing
her charms on the king of the Frost giants.  In this emergency
Loki persuaded Thor to dress himself in Freya's clothes and
accompany him to Jotunheim.  Thrym received his veiled bride with
due courtesy, but was greatly surprised at seeing her eat for her
supper eight salmon and a full-grown ox, besides other
delicacies, washing the whole down with three tuns of mead.
Loki, however, assured him that she had not tasted anything for
eight long nights, so great was her desire to see her lover, the
renowned ruler or Jotunheim.  Thrym had at length the curiosity
to peep under his bride's veil, but started back in affright, and
demanded why Freya's eyeballs glistened with fire.  Loki repeated
the same excuse and the giant was satisfied.  He ordered the
hammer to be brought in and laid on the maiden's lap.  Thereupon
Thor threw off his disguise, grasped his redoubted weapon and
slaughtered Thrum and all his followers.

Frey also possessed a wonderful weapon, a sword which would of
itself spread a field with carnage whenever the owner desired it.
Frey parted with this sword, but was less fortunate than Thor and
never recovered it.  It happened in this way: Frey once mounted
Odin's throne, from whence one can see over the whole universe,
and looking round saw far off in the giant's kingdom a beautiful
maid, at the sight of whom he was struck with sudden sadness,
insomuch that from that moment he could neither sleep, nor drink,
nor speak.  At last Skirnir, his messenger, drew his secret from
him, and undertook to get him the maiden for his bride, if he
would give him his sword as a reward.  Frey consented and gave
him the sword, and Skirnir set off on his journey and obtained
the maiden's promise that within nine nights she would come to a
certain place and there wed Frey.  Skirnir having reported the
success of his errand, Frey exclaimed,

"Long is one night,
Long are two nights,
But how shall I hold out three?
Shorter hath seemed
A month to me oft
Than of this longing time the half."

So Frey obtained Gerda, the most beautiful of all women, for his
wife, but he lost his sword.

This story, entitled Skirnir For, and the one immediately
preceding it, Thrym's Quida, will be found poetically told in
Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe.

Chapter XXXII
Thor's Visit to Jotunheim

One day the god Thor, accompanied by his servant Thialfi, and
also by Loki, set out on a journey to the giant's country.
Thialfi was of all men the swiftest of foot.  He bore Thor's
wallet, containing their provisions.  When night came on they
found themselves in an immense forest, and searched on all sides
for a place where they might pass the night, and at last came to
a very large hall, with an entrance that took the whole breadth
of one end of the building.  Here they lay down to sleep, but
towards midnight were alarmed by an earthquake which shook the
whole edifice.  Thor rising up called on his companion to seek
with him a place of safety.  On the right they found an adjoining
chamber, into which the others entered, but Thor remained at the
doorway with his mallet in his hand, prepared to defend himself,
whatever might happen.  A terrible groaning was heard during the
night, and at dawn of day Thor went out and found lying near him
a huge giant, who slept and snored in the way that had alarmed
them so.  It is said that for once Thor was afraid to use his
mallet, and as the giant soon waked up, Thor contented himself
with simply asking his name.

"My name is Skrymir," said the giant, "but I need not ask thy
name, for I know that thou art the god Tor.  But what has become
of my glove?"  Thor then perceived that what they had taken
overnight for a hall was the giant's glove and the chamber where
his two companions had sought refuge was the thumb.  Skrymir then
proposed that they should travel in company, and Thor consenting,
they sat down to eat their breakfast, and when they had done,
Skrymir packed all the provisions into one wallet, threw it over
his shoulder, and strode on before them, taking such tremendous
strides that they were hard put to it to keep up with him.  So
they travelled the whole day, and at dusk, Skrymir close a place
for them to pass the night in under a large oak-tree.  Skrymir
then told them he would lie down to sleep.  "But take ye the
wallet," he added, "and prepare your supper."Skrymir soon fell
asleep and began to snore strongly, but when Thor tried to open
the wallet, he found the giant had tied it up so tight he could
not untie a single knot.  At last Thor became wroth, and grasping
his mallet with both hands he struck a furious blow on the
giant's head.  Skrymir awakening merely asked whether a leaf had
not fallen on his head, and whether they had supped and were
ready to go to sleep.  Thor answered that they were just going to
sleep, and so saying went and laid himself down under another
tree.  But sleep came not that night to Thor, and when Skrymir
snored again so loud that the forest re-echoed with the noise, he
arose, and grasping his mallet launched it with such force at the
giant's skull that it made a deep dint in it.  Skrymir awakening
cried out, "What's the matter?  Are there any birds perched on
this tree?  I felt some moss from the branches fall on my head.
How fares it with thee, Thor?"  But Thor went away hastily,
saying that he had just then awoke, and that as it was only
midnight, there was still time for sleep.  He however resolved
that if he had an opportunity of striking a third blow, it should
settle all matters between them.  A little before daybreak he
perceived that Skrymir was again fast asleep, and again grasping
his mallet, he dashed it with such violence that it forced its
way into the giant's skull up to the handle.   But Skrymir sat
up, and stroking his cheek, said, "An acorn fell on my head.
What!  Art thou awake, Thor?  Methinks it is time for us to get
up and dress ourselves; but you have not now a long way before
you to the city called Utgard.  I have heard you whispering to
one another that I am not a man of small dimensions; but if you
come to Utgard you will see there many men much taller than I.
Wherefore I advise you, when you come there, not to make too much
of yourselves, for the followers of Utgard-Loki will not brook
the boasting of such little fellows as you are.  You must take
the road that leads eastward, mine lies northward, so we must
part here."

Hereupon he threw his wallet over his shoulders, and turned away
from them into the forest, and Thor had no wish to stop him or to
ask for any more of his company.

Thor and his companions proceeded on their way, and towards noon
descried a city standing in the middle of a plain.  It was so
lofty that they were obliged to bend their necks quite back on
their shoulders in order to see to the top of it.  On arriving
they entered the city, and seeing a large palace before them with
the door wide open, they went in, and found a number of men of
prodigious stature, sitting on benches in the hall. Going
further, they came before the king Utgard-Loki, whom they saluted
with great respect.  The king, regarding them with a scornful
smile, said, "If I do not mistake me, that stripling yonder must
be the god Thor."  Then addressing himself to Thor, he said,
"Perhaps thou mayst be more than thou appearest to be.  What are
the feats that thou and thy fellows deem yourselves skilled in,
for no one is permitted to remain here who does not, in some feat
or other, excel all other men?"

"The feat that I know," said Loki, "is to eat quicker than any
one else, and in this I am ready to give a proof against any one
here who may choose to compete with me."

"That will indeed be a feat," said Utgard-Loki, "if thou
performest what thou promisest, and it shall be tried forthwith."

He then ordered one of his men who was sitting at the farther end
of the bench, and whose name was Logi, to come forward and try
his skill with Loki.  A trough filled with meat having been set
on the hall floor, Loki placed himself at one end, and Logi at
the other, and each of them began to eat as fast as he could,
until they met in the middle of the trough.  But it was found
that Loki had only eaten the flesh, while his adversary had
devoured both flesh and bone, and the trough to boot.  All the
company therefore adjudged that Loki was vanquished.

Utgard-Loki then asked what feat the young man who accompanied
Thor could perform.  Thialfi answered that he would run a race
with any one who might be matched against him.  The king observed
that skill in running was something to boast of, but if the youth
would win the match he must display great agility.  He then arose
and went with all who were present to a plain where there was
good ground for running on, and calling a young man named Hugi,
bade him run a match with Thialfi.  In the first course Hugi so
much outstripped his competitor that he turned back and met him
not far from the starting-place.  Then they ran a second and a
third time, but Thialfi met with no better success.  Utgard-Loki
then asked Thor in what feats he would choose to give proofs of
that prowess for which he was so famous.  Thor answered that he
would try a drinking-match with any one.  Utgard-Loki bade his
cupbearer bring the large horn which his followers were obliged
to empty when they had trespassed in any way against the law of
the feast.  The cupbearer having presented it to Thor, Utgard-
Loki said, "Whoever is a good drinker will empty that horn at a
single draught, though most men make two of it, but the most puny
drinker can do it in three."

Thor looked at the horn, which seemed of no extraordinary size
though somewhat long; however, as he was very thirsty, he set it
to his lips, and without drawing breath, pulled as long and as
deeply as he could, that he might not be obliged to make a second
draught of it; but when he set the horn down and looked in, he
could scarcely perceive that the liquor was diminished.

After taking breath, Thor went to it again with all his might,
but when he took the horn from his mouth, it seemed to him that
he had drunk rather less than before, although the horn could now
be carried without spilling.

"How now, Thor," said Utgard-Loki, "thou must not spare thyself;
if thou meanest to drain the horn at the third draught thou must
pull deeply; and I must needs say that thou wilt not be called so
mighty a man here as thou art at home if thou showest no greater
prowess in other feats than methinks will be shown in this."

Thor, full of wrath, again set the horn to his lips, and did his
best to empty it; but on looking in found the liquor was only a
little lower, so he resolved to make no further attempt, but gave
back the horn to the cupbearer.

"I now see plainly," said Utgard-Loki, "that thou art not quite
so stout as we thought thee; but wilt thou try any other feat,
though methinks thou art not likely to bear any prize away with
thee hence."

"What new trial hast thou to propose?" said Thor.

"We have a very trifling game here," answered Utgard-Loki, "in
which we exercise none but children.  It consists in merely
lifting my cat from the ground; nor should I have dared to
mention such a feat to the great Thor if I had not already
observed that thou art by no means what we took thee for."

As he finished speaking, a large gray cat sprang on the hall
floor.  Thor put his hand under the cat's belly and did his
utmost to raise him from the floor, but the cat, bending his
back, had, notwithstanding all Thor's efforts, only one of his
feet lifted up, seeing which Thor made no further attempt.

"This trial has turned out," said Utgard-Loki, "just as I
imagined it would.  The cat is large, but Thor is little in
comparison to our men."

"Little as ye call me," answered Thor, "let me see who among you
will come hither now I am in wrath and wrestle with me."

"I see no one here," said Utgard-Loki, looking at the men sitting
on the benches, "who would not think it beneath him to wrestle
with thee; let somebody, however, call hither that old crone, my
nurse Elli, and let Thor wrestle with her if he will.  She has
thrown to the ground many a man not less strong than this Thor

A toothless old woman then entered the hall, and was told by
Utgard-Loki to take hold of Thor.  The tale is shortly told.  The
more Thor tightened his hold on the crone the firmer she stood.
At length, after a very violent struggle, Thor began to lose his
footing, and was finally brought down upon one knee.  Utgard-Loki
then told them to desist, adding that Thor had now no occasion to
ask any one else in the hall to wrestle with him, and it was also
getting late; so he showed Thor and his companions to their
seats, and they passed the night there in good cheer.

The next morning at break of day, Thor and his companions dressed
themselves and prepared for their departure.  Utgard-Loki ordered
a table to be set for them, on which there was no lack of
victuals or drink.  After the repast Utgard-Loki led them to the
gate of the city, and on parting asked Thor how he thought his
journey had turned out, and whether he had met with any men
stronger than himself.  Thor told him that he could not deny but
that he had brought great shame on himself.  "And what grieves me
most," he added, is that ye will call me a person of little

"Nay," said Utgard-Loki, "it behooves me to tell thee the truth,
now thou art out of the city, which so long as I live and have my
way thou shalt never enter again.  And, by my troth, had I known
beforehand that thou hadst so much strength in thee, and wouldst
have brought me so near to a great mishap, I would not have
suffered thee to enter this time.  Know then that I have all
along deceived thee by my illusions; first in the forest where I
tied up the wallet with iron wire so that thou couldst not untie
it.  After this thou gavest me three blows with the mallet; the
first, though the least, would have ended my days had it fallen
on me, but I slipped aside and thy blows fell on the mountain
where thou wilt find three glens, one of them remarkably deep.
These are the dints made by thy mallet.  I have made use of
similar illusions in the contests you have had with my followers.
In the first, Loki, like hunger itself, devoured all that was set
before him, but Logi was in reality nothing else than Fire, and
therefore consumed not only the meat, but the trough which held
it.  Hugi, with whom Thialfi contended in running, was Thought,
and it was impossible for Thialfi to keep pace with that.  When
thou in thy turn didst attempt to empty the horn, thou didst
perform, by my troth, a deed so marvellous, that had I not seen
it myself, I should never have believed it.  For one end of that
horn reached the sea, which thou was not aware of, but when thou
comest to the shore thou wilt perceive how much the sea has sunk
by thy draughts.  Thou didst perform a feat no less wonderful by
lifting up the cat, and to tell thee the truth, when we saw that
one of his paws was off the floor, we were all of us terror-
stricken, for what thou tookest for a cat was in reality the
Midgard serpent that encompasseth the earth, and he was so
stretched by thee, that he was barely long enough to enclose it
between his head and tail.  Thy wrestling with Elli was also a
most astonishing feat, for there was never yet a man, nor ever
will be, whom Old Age, for such in fact was Elli, will not sooner
or later lay low.  But now, as we are going to part, let me tell
thee that it will be better for both of us if thou never come
near me again, for shouldst thou do so, I shall again defend
myself by other illusions, so that thou wilt only lose thy labor
and get no fame from the contest with me."

On hearing these words Thor in a rage laid hold of his mallet and
would have launched it at him, but Utgard-Loki had disappeared,
and when Thor would have returned to the city to destroy it, he
found nothing around him but a verdant plain.

On another occasion Thor was more successful in an encounter with
the giants.  It happened that Thor met with a giant, Hrungnir by
name, who was disputing with Odin as to the merits of their
respective horses, Gullfaxi and Sleipnir, the eight-legged.  Thor
and the giant made an agreement to fight together on a certain
day.  But as the day approached, the giant, becoming frightened
at the thought of encountering Thor alone, manufactured, with the
assistance of his fellow-giants, a great giant of clay.  He was
nine miles high and three miles about the chest, and in his heart
he had the heart of a mare.  Accompanied by the clay giant,
Hrungnir awaited Thor on the appointed day.  Thor approached
preceded by Thialfi, his servant, who, running ahead, shouted out
to Hrungnir that it was useless to hold his shield before him,
for the god Thor would attack him out of the ground.  Hrungnir at
this flung his shield on the ground, and, standing upon it, made
ready.  As Thor approached Hrungnir flung at him an immense club
of stone.  Thor flung his hammer.  Miolnir met the club half way,
broke it in pieces, and burying itself in the stone skull of
Hrungnir, felled him to the ground.  Meanwhile Thialfi had
despatched the clay giant with a spade.  Thor himself received
but a slight wound from a fragment of the giant's hammer.

Chapter XXXIII
The Death of Baldur   The Elves -- Runic Letters -- Scalds --

Baldur, the Good, having been tormented with terrible dreams
indicating that his life was in peril, told them to the assembled
gods, who resolved to conjure all things to avert from him the
threatened danger.  Then Frigga, the wife of Odin, exacted an
oath from fire and water, from iron and all other metals, from
stones, trees, diseases, beasts, birds, poisons, and creeping
things, that none of them would do any harm to Baldur.  Odin, not
satisfied with all this, and feeling alarmed for the fate of his
son, determined to consult the prophetess Angerbode, a giantess,
mother of Fenris, Hela, and the Midgard serpent.  She was dead,
and Odin was forced to seek her in Hela's dominions.  This
descent of Odin forms the subject of Gray's fine ode beginning,

"Up rose the king of men with speed
And saddled straight his coal-black steed."

But the other gods, feeling that what Frigga had done was quite
sufficient, amused themselves with using Baldur as a mark, some
hurling darts at him, some stones, while others hewed at him with
their swords and battle-axes, for do what they would none of them
could harm him.  And this became a favorite pastime with them and
was regarded as an honor shown to Baldur.  But when Loki beheld
the scene he was sorely vexed that Baldur was not hurt.
Assuming, therefore, the shape of a woman, he went to Fensalir,
the mansion of Frigga.  That goddess, when she saw the pretended
woman, inquired of her if she knew what the gods were doing at
their meetings.  She replied that they were throwing darts and
stones at Baldur, without being able to hurt him.  "Ay," said
Frigga, "neither stones, nor sticks, nor anything else can hurt
Baldur, for I have exacted an oath from all of them.  " "What,"
exclaimed the woman, "have all things sworn to spare Baldur?"
"All things," replied Frigga, "except one little shrub that grows
on the eastern side of Valhalla, and is called Mistletoe, and
which I thought too young and feeble to crave an oath from."

As soon as Loki heard this he went away, and resuming his natural
shape, cut off the mistletoe, and repaired to the place where the
gods were assembled.  There he found Hodur standing apart,
without partaking of the sports, on account of his blindness, and
going up to him, said, "Why dost thou not also throw something at

"Because I am blind," answered Hodur, "and see not where Baldur
is, and have moreover nothing to throw."

"Come, then," said Loki, "do like the rest and show honor to
Baldur by throwing this twig at him, and I will direct thy arm
towards the place where he stands."

Hodur then took the mistletoe, and under the guidance of Loki,
darted it at Baldur, who, pierced through and through, fell down
lifeless.  Surely never was there witnessed, either among gods or
men, a more atrocious deed than this.  When Baldur fell, the gods
were struck speechless with horror, and then they looked at each
other, and all were of one mind to lay hands on him who had done
the deed, but they were obliged to delay their vengeance out of
respect for the sacred place where they were assembled.  They
gave vent to their grief by loud lamentations.  When the gods
came to themselves, Frigga asked who among them wished to gain
all her love and good will.  "For this," said she, "shall he have
who will ride to Hel and offer Hela a ransom if she will let
Baldur return to Asgard."  Whereupon Hermod, surnamed the Nimble,
the son of Odin, offered to undertake the journey.  Odin's horse,
Sleipnir, which has eight legs, and can outrun the wind, was then
led forth, on which Hermod mounted and galloped away on his
mission.  For the space of nine days and as many nights he rode
through deep glens so dark that he could not discern anything
until he arrived at the river Gyoll, which he passed over on a
bridge covered with glittering gold.  The maiden who kept the
bridge asked him his name and lineage, telling him that the day
before five bands of dead persons had ridden over the bridge, and
did not shake it as much as he alone.  "But," she added, "thou
hast not death's hue on thee; why then ridest thou here on the
way to Hel?"

"I ride to Hel," answered Hermod, "to seek Baldur.  Hast thou
perchance seen him pass this way?"

She replied, "Baldur hath ridden over Gyoll's bridge, and yonder
lieth the way he took to the abodes of death."

Hermod pursued his journey until he came to the barred gates of
Hel.  Here he alighted, girthed his saddle tighter, and
remounting clapped both spurs to his horse, who cleared the gate
by a tremendous leap without touching it.  Hermod then rode on to
the palace where he found his brother Baldur occupying the most
distinguished seat in the hall, and passed the night in his
company.  The next morning he besought Hela to let Baldur ride
home with him, assuring her that nothing but lamentations were to
be heard among the gods.  Hela answered that it should now be
tried whether Baldur was so beloved as he was said to be.  "If,
therefore," she added, "all things in the world, both living and
lifeless, weep for him, then shall he return to life; but if any
one thing speak against him or refuse to weep, he shall be kept
in Hel."

Hermod then rode back to Asgard and gave an account of all he had
heard and witnessed.

The gods upon this despatched messengers throughout the world to
beg every thing to weep in order that Baldur might be delivered
from Hel.  All things very willingly complied with this request,
both men and every other living being, as well as earths, and
stones, and trees, and metals, just as we have all seen these
things weep when they are brought from a cold place into a hot
one.  As the messengers were returning, they found an old hag
named Thaukt sitting in a cavern, and begged her to weep Baldur
out of Hel.  But she answered,

"Thaukt will wail
With dry tears
Baldur's bale-fire.
Let Hela keep her own."

It was strongly suspected that this hag was no other than Loki
himself, who never ceased to work evil among gods and men.  So
Baldur was prevented from coming back to Asgard.  (In
Longfellow's Poems, vol. 1, page 379, will be found a poem
entitled Tegner's Drapa, upon the subject of Baldur's death.)

Among Matthew Arnold's Poems is one called "Balder Death"
beginning thus:

"So on the floor lay Balder dead; and round
Lay thickly strewn swords, axes, darts and spears,
Which all the Gods in sport had idly thrown
At Balder, whom no weapon pierced or clave;
But in his breast stood fixt the fatal bough
Of mistletoe, which Lok the Accuser gave
To Hoder, and unwitting Hoder threw;
"Gainst that alone had Balder's life no charm.
And all the Gods and all the heroes came
And stood round Balder on the bloody floor
Weeping and wailing; and Valhalla rang
Up to its golden roof with sobs and cries;
And on the table stood the untasted meats,
And in the horns and gold-rimmed skulls the wine;
And now would night have fallen and found them yet
Wailing; but otherwise was Odin's will."


The gods took up the dead body and bore it to the sea-shore where
stood Baldur's ship Hringham, which passed for the largest in the
world.  Baldur's dead body was put on the funeral pile, on board
the ship, and his wife Nanna was so struck with grief at the
sight that she broke her heart, and her body was burned on the
same pile with her husband's.  There was a vast concourse of
various kinds of people at Baldur's obsequies.  First came Odin
accompanied by Frigga, the Valkyrior, and his ravens; then Frey
in his car drawn by Gullinbursti, the boar; Heimdall rode his
horse Gulltopp, and Freya drove in her chariot drawn by cats.
There were also a great many Frost giants and giants of the
mountain present.  Baldur's horse was led to the pile fully
caparisoned and consumed in the same flames with his master.

But Loki did not escape his deserved punishment.  When he saw how
angry the gods were, he fled to the mountain, and there built
himself a hut with four doors, so that he could see every
approaching danger.  He invented a net to catch the fishes, such
as fishermen have used since his time.  But Odin found out his
hiding-place and the gods assembled to take him.  He, seeing
this, changed himself into a salmon, and lay hid among the stones
of the brook.  But the gods took his net and dragged the brook,
and Loki finding he must be caught, tried to leap over the net;
but Thor caught him by the tail and compressed it so, that
salmons every since have had that part remarkably fine and thin.
They bound him with chains and suspended a serpent over his head,
whose venom falls upon his face drop by drop.  His wife Siguna
sits by his side and catches the drops as they fall, in a cup;
but when she carries it away to empty it, the venom falls upon
Loki, which makes him howl with horror, and twist his body about
so violently that the whole earth shakes, and this produces what
men call earthquakes.


The Edda mentions another class of beings, inferior to the gods,
but still possessed of great power; these were called Elves.  The
white spirits, or Elves of Light, were exceedingly fair, more
brilliant than the sun, and clad in garments of delicate and
transparent texture.  They loved the light, were kindly disposed
to mankind, and generally appeared as fair and lovely children.
Their country was called Alfheim, and was the domain of Freyr,
the god of the sun, in whose light they were always sporting.

The black of Night Elves were a different kind of creatures.
Ugly, long-nosed dwarfs, of a dirty brown color, they appeared
only at night, for they avoided the sun as their most deadly
enemy, because whenever his beams fell upon any of them they
changed them immediately into stones.  Their language was the
echo of solitudes, and their dwelling-places subterranean caves
and clefts.  They were supposed to have come into existence as
maggots, produced by the decaying flesh of Ymir's body, and were
afterwards endowed by the gods with a human form and great
understanding.  They were particularly distinguished for a
knowledge of the mysterious powers of nature, and for the runes
which they carved and explained.  They were the most skilful
artificers of all created beings, and worked in metals and in
wood.  Among their most noted works were Thor's hammer, and the
ship Skidbladnir, which they gave to Freyr, and which was so
large that it could contain all the deities with their war and
household implements, but so skilfully was it wrought that when
folded together it could be put into a side pocket.


It was a firm belief of the northern nations that a time would
come when all the visible creation, the gods of Valhalla and
Niffleheim, the inhabitants of Jotunheim, Alfheim, and Midgard,
together with their habitations, would be destroyed.  The fearful
day of destruction will not, however, be without its forerunners.
First will come a triple winter, during which snow will fall from
the four corners of the heavens, the frost be very severe, the
wind piercing, the weather tempestuous, and the sun impart no
gladness.  Three such winters will pass away without being
tempered by a single summer.  Three other similar winters will
then follow, during which war and discord will spread over the
universe.  The earth itself will be frightened and begin to
tremble, the sea leave its basin, the heavens tear asunder, and
men perish in great numbers, and the eagles of the air feast upon
their still quivering bodies.  The wolf Fenris will now break his
bands, the Midgard serpent rise out of her bed in the sea, and
Loki, released from his bonds, will join the enemies of the gods.
Amidst the general devastation the sons of Muspelheim will rush
forth under their leader Surtur, before and behind whom are
flames and burning fire.  Onward they ride over Bifrost, the
rainbow bridge, which breaks under the horses' hoofs.  But they,
disregarding its fall, direct their course to the battle-field
called Vigrid.  Thither also repair the wolf Fenris, the Midgard
serpent, Loki with all the followers of Hela, and the Frost

Heimdall now stands up and sounds the Giallar horn to assemble
the gods and heroes for the contest.  The gods advance, led on by
Odin, who engages the wolf Fenris, but falls a victim to the
monster, who is, however, slain by Vidar, Odin's son.  Thor gains
great renown by killing the Midgard serpent, but recoils and
falls dead, suffocated with the venom which the dying monster
vomits over him.  Loki and Heimdall meet and fight till they are
both slain.  The Gods and their enemies having fallen in battle,
Surtur, who has killed Dreyr, darts fire and flames over the
world, and the whole universe is burned up.  The sun becomes dim,
the earth sinks into the ocean, the stars fall from heaven, and
time is no more.

After this Alfadur (the almighty) will cause a new heaven and a
new earth to arise out of the sea.  The new earth, filled with
abundant supplies, will spontaneously produce its fruits without
labor or care. Wickedness and misery will no more be known, but
the gods and men will live happily together.


One cannot travel far in Denmark, Norway, or Sweden, without
meeting with great stones, of different forms, engraven with
characters called Runic, which appear at first sight very
different from all we know.  The letters consist almost
invariably of straight lines, in the shape of little sticks
either singly or put together.  Such sticks were in early times
used by the northern nations for the purpose of ascertaining
future events.  The sticks were shaken up, and from the figures
that they formed a kind of divination was derived.

The Runic characters were of various kinds.  They were chiefly
used for magical purposes.  The noxious, or, as they called them,
the BITTER runes, were employed to bring various evils on their
enemies; the favorable averted misfortune.  Some were medicinal,
others employed to win love, etc.  In later times they were
frequently used for inscriptions, of which more than a thousand
have been found.  The language is a dialect of the Gothic, called
Norse, still in use in Iceland.  The inscriptions may therefore
be read with certainty, but hitherto very few have been found
which throw the least light on history.  They are mostly epitaphs
on tombstones.

Gray's ode on the Descent of Odin contains an allusion to the use
of Runic letters for incantation:

"Facing to the northern clime,
Thrice he traced the Runic rhyme;
Thrice pronounced, in accents dread,
The thrilling verse that wakes the dead,
Till from out the hollow ground
Slowly breathed a sullen sound."


The Skalds were the bards and poets of the nation, a very
important class of men in all communities in an early stage of
civilization.  They are the depositaries of whatever historic
lore there is, and it is their office to mingle something of
intellectual gratification with the rude feasts of the warriors,
by rehearsing, with such accompaniments of poetry and music as
their skill can afford, the exploits of their heroes living or
dead.  The compositions of the Skalds were called Sagas, many of
which have come down to us, and contain valuable materials of
history, and a faithful picture of the state of society at the
time to which they relate.


The Eddas and Sagas have come to us from Iceland.  The following
extract from Carlyle's Lectures on Heroes and Hero worship gives
an animated account of the region where the strange stories we
have been reading had their origin.  Let the reader contrast it
for a moment with Greece, the parent of classical mythology.

"In that strange island, Iceland,   burst up, the geologists say,
by fire from the bottom of the sea, a wild land of barrenness and
lava, swallowed many months of every year in black tempests, yet
with a wild, gleaming beauty in summer time, towering up there
stern and grim in the North Ocean, with its snow yokuls
(mountains), roaring geysers (boiling springs), sulphur pools,
and horrid volcanic chasms, like the vast, chaotic battle-field
of Frost and Fire,   where, of all places, we least looked for
literature or written memorials,   the record of these things was
written down.  On the seaboard of this wild land is a rim of
grassy country, where cattle can subsist, and men by means of
them and of what the sea yields; and it seems they were poetic
men these, men who had deep thoughts in them and uttered
musically their thoughts.  Much would be lost had Iceland not
been burst up from the sea, not been discovered by the Northmen!"

Chapter XXXIV
The Druids   Iona

The Druids were the priests or ministers of religion among the
ancient Celtic nations in Gaul, Britain, and Germany.  Our
information respecting them is borrowed from notices in the Greek
and Roman writers, compared with the remains of Welsh and Gaelic
poetry still extant.

The Druids combined the functions of the priest, the magistrate,
the scholar, and the physician.  They stood to the people of the
Celtic tribes in a relation closely analogous to that in which
the Brahmans of India, the Magi of Persia, and the priests of the
Egyptians stood to the people respectively by whom they were

The Druids taught the existence of one God, to whom they gave a
name "Be'al," which Celtic antiquaries tell us means "the life of
everything," or "the source of all beings,:" and which seems to
have affinity with the Phoenician Baal.  What renders this
affinity more striking is that the Druids as well as the
Phoenicians identified this, their supreme deity, with the Sun.
Fire was regarded as a symbol of the divinity.  The Latin writers
assert that the Druids also worshipped numerous inferior Gods.
They used no images to represent the object of their worship, nor
did they meet in temples or buildings of any kind for the
performance of their sacred rites.  A circle of stones (each
stone generally of vast size) enclosing an area of from twenty
feet to thirty yards in diameter, constituted their sacred place.
The most celebrated of these now remaining is Stonehenge, on
Salisbury Plain, England.

These sacred circles were generally situated near some stream, or
under the shadow of a grove or wide-spreading oak.  In the centre
of the circle stood the Cromlech or altar, which was a large
stone, placed in the manner of a table upon other stones set up
on end.  The Druids had also their high places, which were large
stones or piles of stones on the summits of hills.  These were
called Cairns, and were used in the worship of the deity under
the symbol of the sun.

That the Druids offered sacrifices to their deity there can be no
doubt.  But there is some uncertainty as to what they offered,
and of the ceremonies connected with their religious services we
know almost nothing.  The classical (Roman) writers affirm that
they offered on great occasions human sacrifices; as for success
in war or for relief from dangerous diseases.  Caesar has given a
detailed account of the manner in which this was done.  "They
have images of immense size, the limbs of which are framed with
twisted twigs and filled with living persons.  These being set on
fire, those within are encompassed by the flames."  Many attempts
have been made by Celtic writers to shake the testimony of the
Roman historians to this fact, but without success.

The Druids observed two festivals in each year.  The former took
place in the beginning of May, and was called Beltane or "fire of
God."  On this occasion a large fire was kindled on some elevated
spot, in honor of the sun, whose returning beneficence they thus
welcomed after the gloom and desolation of winter.  Of this
custom a trace remains in the name given to Whitsunday in parts
of Scotland to this day.  Sir Walter Scott uses the word in the
Boat Song in the Lady of the Lake:

"Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
Blooming at Beltane in winter to fade."

The other great festival of the Druids was called "Samh'in," or
"fire of peace," and was held on Hallow-eve (first of November),
which still retains this designation in the Highlands of
Scotland.  On this occasion the Druids assembled in solemn
conclave, in the most central part of the district, to discharge
the judicial functions of their order.  All questions, whether
public or private, all crimes against person or property, were at
this time brought before them for adjudication.  With these
judicial acts were combined certain superstitious usages,
especially the kindling of the sacred fire, from which all the
fires in the district which had been beforehand scrupulously
extinguished, might be relighted.  This usage of kindling fires
on Hallow-eve lingered in the British Islands long after the
establishment of Christianity.

Besides these two great annual festivals, the Druids were in the
habit of observing the full moon, and especially the sixth day of
the moon.  On the latter they sought the mistletoe, which grew on
their favorite oaks, and to which, as well as to the oak itself,
they ascribed a peculiar virtue and sacredness.  The discovery of
it was an occasion of rejoicing and solemn worship.  "They call
it," says Pliny, "by a word in their language which means 'heal-
all,' and having made solemn preparation for feasting and
sacrifice under the tree, they drive thither two milk-white
bulls, whose horns are then for the first time bound.  The priest
then, robed in white, ascends the tree, and cuts off the
mistletoe with a golden sickle.  It is caught in a white mantle,
after which they proceed to slay the victims, at the same time
praying that god would render his gift prosperous to those to
whom he had given it.  They drink the water in which it has been
infused, and think it a remedy for all diseases.  The mistletoe
is a parasitic plant, and is not always nor often found on the
oak, so that when it is found it is the more precious."

The Druids were the teachers of morality as well as of religion.
Of their ethical teaching a valuable specimen is preserved in the
Triads of the Welsh Bards, and from this we may gather that their
views of moral rectitude were on the whole just, and that they
held and inculcated many very noble and valuable principles of
conduct.  They were also the men of science and learning of their
age and people.  Whether they were acquainted with letters or not
has been disputed, though the probability is strong that they
were, to some extent.  But it is certain that they committed
nothing of their doctrine, their history, or their poetry to
writing.  Their teaching was oral, and their literature (if such
a word may be used in such a case) was preserved solely by
tradition.  But the Roman writers admit that "they paid much
attention to the order and laws of nature, and investigated and
taught to the youth under their charge many things concerning the
stars and their motions, the size of the world and the lands ,
and concerning the might and power of the immortal gods."

Their history consisted in traditional tales, in which the heroic
deeds of their forefathers were celebrated.  These were
apparently in verse, and thus constituted part of the poetry as
well as the history of the Druids.  In the poems of Ossian we
have, if not the actual productions of Druidical times, what may
be considered faithful representations of the songs of the Bards.

The Bards were an essential part of the Druidical hierarchy.  One
author, Pennant, says, "The bards were supposed to be endowed
with powers equal to inspiration.  They were the oral historians
of all past transactions, public and private.  They were also
accomplished genealogists."

Pennant gives a minute account of the Eisteddfods or sessions of
the bards and minstrels, which were held in Wales for many
centuries, long after the Druidical priesthood in its other
departments became extinct.  At these meetings none but bards of
merit were suffered to rehearse their pieces, and minstrels of
skill to perform.  Judges were appointed to decide on their
respective abilities, and suitable degrees were conferred.  In
the earlier period the judges were appointed by the Welsh
princes, and after the conquest of Wales, by commission from the
kings of England.  Yet the tradition is that Edward I., in
revenge for the influence of the bards, in animating the
resistance of the people to his sway, persecuted them with great
cruelty.  This tradition has furnished the poet Gray with the
subject of his celebrated ode, the Bard.

There are still occasional meetings of the lovers of Welsh poetry
and music, held under the ancient name.  Among Mrs. Heman's poems
is one written for an Eisteddfod, or meeting of Welsh Bards, held
in London May 22, 1822.  It begins with a description of the
ancient meeting, of which the following lines are a part:

"----- midst the eternal cliffs, whose strength defied
The crested Roman in his hour of pride;
And where the Druid's ancient cromlech frowned,
And the oaks breathed mysterious murmurs round,
There thronged the inspired of yore! On plain or height,
In the sun's face, beneath the eye of light,
And baring unto heaven each noble head,
Stood in the circle, where none else might tread."

The Druidical system was at its height at the time of the Roman
invasion under Julius Caesar.  Against the Druids, as their chief
enemies, these conquerors of the world directed their unsparing
fury.  The Druids, harassed at all points on the main-land,
retreated to Anglesey and Iona, where for a season they found
shelter, and continued their now-dishonored rites.

The Druids retained their predominance in Iona and over the
adjacent islands and main-land until they were supplanted and
their superstitions overturned by the arrival of St. Columba, the
apostle of the Highlands, by whom the inhabitants of that
district were first led to profess Christianity.


One of the smallest of the British Isles, situated near a ragged
and barren coast, surrounded by dangerous seas, and possessing no
sources of internal wealth, Iona has obtained an imperishable
place in history as the seat of civilization and religion at a
time when the darkness of heathenism hung over almost the whole
of Northern Europe.  Iona or Icolmkill is situated at the
extremity of the island of Mull, from which it is separated by a
strait of half a mile in breadth, its distance from the main-land
of Scotland being thirty-six miles.

Columba was a native of Ireland, and connected by birth with the
princes of the land.  Ireland was at that time a land of gospel
light, while the western and northern parts of Scotland were
still immersed in the darkness of heathenism.  Columba, with
twelve friends landed on the island of Iona in the year of our
Lord 563, having made the passage in a wicker boat covered with
hides.  The Druids who occupied the island endeavored to prevent
his settling there, and the savage nations on the adjoining
shores incommoded him with their hostility, and on several
occasions endangered his life by their attacks.  Yet by his
perseverance and zeal he surmounted all opposition, procured from
the king a gift of the island, and established there a monastery
of which he was the abbot.  He was unwearied in his labors to
disseminate a knowledge of the Scriptures throughout the
Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and such was the reverence
paid him that though not a bishop, but merely a presbyter and
monk, the entire province with its bishops was subject to him and
his successors.  The Pictish monarch was so impressed with a
sense of his wisdom and worth that he held him in the highest
honor, and the neighboring chiefs and princes sought his counsel
and availed themselves of his judgment in settling their

When Columba landed on Iona he was attended by twelve followers
whom he had formed into a religious body, of which he was the
head.  To these, as occasion required, others were from time to
time added, so that the original number was always kept up.
Their institution was called a monastery, and the superior an
abbot, but the system had little in common with the monastic
institutions of later times.  The name by which those who
submitted to the rule were known was that of Culdees, probably
from the Latin "cultores Dei"   worshippers of God.  They were a
body of religious persons associated together for the purpose of
aiding each other in the common work of preaching the gospel and
teaching youth, as well as maintaining in themselves the fervor
of devotion by united exercises of worship.  On entering the
order certain vows were taken by the members, but they were not
those which were usually imposed by monastic orders, for of
these, which are three, celibacy, poverty, and obedience, the
Culdees were bound to none except the third.  To poverty they did
not bind themselves; on the contrary, they seem to have labored
diligently to procure for themselves and those dependent on them
the comforts of life.  Marriage also was allowed them, and most
of them seem to have entered into that state.  True, their wives
were not permitted to reside with them at the institution, but
they had a residence assigned to them in an adjacent locality.
Near Iona there is an island which still bears the name of "Eilen
nam ban," women's island, where their husbands seem to have
resided with them, except when duty required their presence in
the school or the sanctuary.

Campbell, in his poem of Reullura, alludes to the married monks
of Iona:

" -----The pure Culdees
Were Albyn's earliest priests of God,
Ere yet an island of her seas
By foot of Saxon monk was trod,
Long ere her churchmen by bigotry
Were barred from holy wedlock's tie.
'Twas then that Aodh, famed afar,
In Iona preached the word with power.
And Reullura, beauty's star,
Was the partner of his bower."

In one of his Irish Melodies, Moore gives the legend of St.
Senanus and the lady who sought shelter on the island, but was

"Oh, haste and leave this sacred isle,
Unholy bark, ere morning smile;
For on thy deck, though dark it be,
A female form I see;
And I have sworn this sainted sod
Shall ne'er by woman's foot be trod.

In these respects and in others the Culdees departed from the
established rules of the Romish Church, and consequently were
deemed heretical.  The consequence was that as the power of the
latter advanced, that of the Culdees was enfeebled.  It was not,
however, till the thirteenth century that the communities of the
Culdees were suppressed and the members dispersed.  They still
continued to labor as individuals, and resisted the inroads of
Papa usurpation as they best might till the light of the
Reformation dawned on the world.

Ionia, from its position in the western seas, was exposed to the
assaults of the Norwegian and Danish rovers by whom those seas
were infested, and by them it was repeatedly pillaged, its
dwellings burned, and its peaceful inhabitants put to the sword.
These unfavorable circumstances led to its gradual decline, which
was expedited by the supervision of the Culdees throughout
Scotland.  Under the reign of Popery the island became the seat
of a nunnery, the ruins of which are still seen.  At the
Reformation, the nuns were allowed to remain, living in
community, when the abbey was dismantled.

Ionia is now chiefly resorted to by travellers on account of the
numerous ecclesiastical and sepulchral remains which are found
upon it.  The principal of these are the Cathedral or Abbey
Church, and the Chapel of the Nunnery.  Besides these remains of
ecclesiastical antiquity, there are some of an earlier date, and
pointing to the existence on the island of forms of worship and
belief different from those of Christianity.  These are the
circular Cairns which are found in various parts, and which seem
to have been of Druidical origin.  It is in reference to all
these remains of ancient religion that Johnson exclaims, "That
man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force
upon the plains of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer
amid the ruins of Iona."

In the Lord of the Isles, Scott beautifully contrasts the church
on Iona with the Cave of Staffa, opposite:

"Nature herself, it seemed, would raise
A minister to her Maker's praise!
Not for a meaner use ascend
Her columns or her arches bend;
Nor of a theme less solemn tells
The mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
And still between each awful pause,
>From the high vault an answer draws,
In varied tone, prolonged and high,
That mocks the organ's melody;
Nor doth its entrance front in vain
To old Iona's holy fane,
That Nature's voice might seem to say,
Well hast thou done, frail child of clay,
Thy humble powers that stately shrine
Tasked high and hard   but witness mine."


We have seen throughout the course of this book how the Greek and
Norse myths have furnished material for the poets, not only of
Greece and Scandinavia, but also of modern times.  In the same
way these stories have been found capable of artistic treatment
by painters, sculptors, and even by musicians.  The story of
Cupid and Psyche has not only been retold by poets from Apuleius
to William Morris, but also drawn out in a series of frescoes by
Raphael, and sculptured in marble by Canova.  Even to enumerate
the works of art of the modern and ancient world which depend for
their subject-matter upon mythology would be a task for a book by
itself.  As we have been able to give only a few illustrations of
the poetic treatment of some of the principal myths, so we shall
have to content ourselves with a similarly limited view of the
part played by them in other fields of art.

Of the statues made by the ancients themselves to represent their
greater deities, a few have been already commented on.  But it
must not be thought that these splendid examples of plastic art,
the Olympian Jupiter and the Athene of the Parthenon, represent
the earliest attempts of the Greeks to give form to their myths
in sculpture.  Our most primitive sources of knowledge of much of
Greek mythology are the Homeric poems, where the stories of
Achilles and Ulysses have already taken on a poetic form, almost
the highest conceivable.  But in the other arts, Greek genius
lagged behind.  At the time when the Homeric poems were written,
we find no traces of columned temples or magnificent statues.
Scarcely were the domestic arts sufficiently advanced to allow
the poet to describe dwellings glorious enough for his heroes to
live in, or articles of common utility fit for their use.  Of the
two most famous works of art mentioned in the Iliad we must think
of the statue of Athene at Troy (the Palladium) as a rude carving
perhaps of wood, the arms of the goddess separated from the body
only enough to allow her to hold the lance and spindle, which
were the signs of her divinity.  The splendor of the shield of
Achilles must be attributed largely to the rich imagination of
the poet.

Other works of art of this primitive age we know from
descriptions in later classical writers.  They attributed the
rude statues which had come down to them to Daedalus and his
pupils, and beheld them with wonder at their uncouth ugliness.
It was long thought that these beginnings of Greek sculpture were
to be traced to Egypt, but now-a-days scholars are inclined to
take a different view.  Egyptian sculpture was closely allied to
architecture; the statues were frequently used for the columns of
temples.  Thus sculpture was subordinated to purely mechanical
principles, and human figures were represented altogether in
accordance with established conventions.  Greek sculpture, on the
contrary, even in its primitive forms was eminently natural,
capable of developing a high degree of realism.  From the first
it was decorative in character, and this left the artist free to
execute in his own way, provided only that the result should be
in accordance with the highest type of beauty which he could
conceive.  An example of this early decorative art was the chest
of Kypselos, on which stories from Homer were depicted in
successive bands, the reliefs being partly inlaid with gold and

>From the sixth century before Christ date three processes of
great importance in the development of sculpture; the art of
casting in bronze, the chiselling of marble, and the inlaying of
gold and ivory on wood (chryselephantine work).  As early Greek
literature developed first among the island Greeks, so the
invention of these three methods of art must br attributed to the
colonists away from the original Hellas.  To the Samians is
probably due the invention of bronze casting, to the Chians the
beginning of sculpture in marble.  This latter development opened
to Greek sculpture its great future.  Marble work was carried on
by a race of artists beginning with Melas in the seventh century
and coming down to Boupalos and Athenis, the sons of Achermos,
whose works survived to the time of Augustus.  Chryselephantine
sculpture began in Crete.

Among the earliest of the Greek sculptors whose names have come
down to us was Canachos, the Sicyonian.  His masterpiece was the
Apollo Philesios, in bronze, made for the temple of Didymas.  The
statue no longer exists, but there are a number of ancient
monuments which may be taken as fairly close copies of it, or at
least as strongly suggestive of the style of Canachos, among
which are the Payne-Knight Apollo at the British Museum, and the
Piombino Apollo at the Louvre.  In this latter statue the god
stands erect with the left foot slightly advanced, and the hands
outstretched.  The socket of the eye is hollow and was probably
filled with some bright substance.  Canachos was undoubtedly an
innovator, and in the stronger modelling of the head and neck,
the more vigorous posture of the body of his statue, he shows an
advance on the more conventional and limited art of his

As Greek sculpture progressed, schools of artists arose in
various cities, dependent usually for their fame on the ability
of some individual sculptor.  "Among these schools, those of
Aegina and Athens are the most important.  Of the former school
the works of Onatus are by far the most notable.

Onatus was a contemporary of Canachos, and reached the height of
his fame in the middle of the fifth century before Christ.  His
most famous work was the scene where the Greek heroes draw lots
for an opponent to Hector.  It is not certain whether Onatus
sculptured the groups which adorned the pediments of the temple
of Athena at Aegina, groups now in the Glyptothek at Munich, but
certainly these famous statues are decidedly in his style.  Both
pediments represent the battle over the body of Patroclus.  The
east pediment shows the struggle between Heracles and Laomedon.
In each group a fallen warrior lies at the feet of the goddess,
over whom she extends her protection.  The Aeginetan marbles show
the traces of dying archaism.  The figures of the warriors are
strongly moulded, muscular, but without grace.  The same type is
reproduced again and again among them.  Even the wounded scarcely
depart from it.  The statues of the eastern pediment are probably
later in date than those of the western, and in the former the
dying warrior exhibits actual weakness and pain.  In the western
pediment the statue of the goddess is thoroughly archaic, stiff,
uncompromisingly harsh, the features frozen into a conventional
smile.  In the eastern group the goddess, though still
ungraceful, is more distinctly in action, and seems about to take
part in the struggle.  The Heracles of the eastern pediment, a
warrior supported on one knee and drawing his bow, is, for the
time, wonderfully vivid and strong.  All of these statues are
evidence of the rapid progress which Greek sculpture was making
in the fifth century against the demands of hieratic

The contemporary Athenian school boasted the names of Hegias,
Critios, and Nesiotes. Their works have all perished, but a copy
of one of the most famous works of Critios and Nesiotes, the
statue of the Tyrannicides, is to be found in the Museum of
Naples.  Harmodius and Aristogeiton killed, in 514 B.C., the
tyrant-ruler of Athens, Hipparchus.  In consequence of this
Athens soon became a republic, and the names of the first rebels
were held in great honor.  Their statues were set up on the
Acropolis, first a group by Antenor, then the group in question
by Critios and Nesiotes after the first had been carried away by
Xerxes.  The heroes, as we learn from the copies in Naples, were
represented as rushing forward, one with a naked sword flashing
above his head, the other with a mantle for defence thrown over
his left arm.  They differ in every detail of action and pose,
yet they exemplify the same emotion, a common impulse to perform
the same deed.

At Argus, contemporary with these early schools of Athens and
Aegina, was a school of artists depending on the fame of the
great sculptor Ageladas.  He was distinguished for his statues in
bronze of Zeus and Heracles, but his great distinction is not
through works of his own, but is due to the fact that he was the
teacher of Myron, Polycleitos, and Pheidias.  These names with
those of Pythagoras and Calamis bring us to the glorious
flowering time of Greek sculpture.

Calamis, somewhat older than the others, was an Athenian, at
least by residence.  He carried on the measure of perfection
which Athenian sculpture had already attained, and added grace
and charm to the already powerful model which earlier workers had
left him.  None of his works survive, but from notices of critics
we know that he excelled especially in modelling horses and other
animals.  His two race-horses in memory of the victory of Hiero
of Syracuse at Olympia in 468 were considered unsurpassable.
However, it is related that Praxiteles removed the charioteer
from one of the groups of Calamis and replaced it by one of his
own statues "that the men of Calamis might not be inferior to his
horses."  Thus it would appear that Calamis was less successful
in dealing with the human body, though a statue of Aphrodite from
his hand was proverbial, under the name Sosandra, for its grace
and grave beauty.

Pythagoras of Rhegium carried on the realism, truth to nature,
which was beginning to appear as an ideal of artistic
representation.  He is said to have been the first sculptor to
mark the veins and sinews on the body.

In this vivid naturalness Pythagoras was himself far surpassed by
Myron.  Pythagoras had seen the importance of showing the effect
of action in every portion of the body.  Myron carried the
minuteness of representation so far that his Statue of Ladas, the
runner, was spoken of not as a runner, but as a BREATHER.  This
statue represented the victor of the foot-race falling,
overstrained and dying, at the goal, the last breath from the
tired lungs yet hovering upon the lips.  More famous than the
Ladas is the Discobolos , or disc-thrower, of which copies exist
at Rome, one being at the Vatican, the other at the Palazzo
Massimi alle Colonne.  These, though doubtless far behind the
original, serve to show the marvellous power of portraying
intense action which the sculptor possessed.  The athlete is
represented at the precise instant when he has brought the
greatest possible bodily strength into play in order to give to
the disc its highest force.  The body is bent forward, the toes
of one foot cling to the ground, the muscles of the torso are
strained, the whole body is in an attitude of violent tension
which can endure only for an instant.  Yet the face is free from
contortion, free from any trace of effort, calm and beautiful.
This shows that Myron, intent as he was upon reproducing nature,
could yet depart from his realistic formulae when the
requirements of beautiful art demanded it.

The same delight in rapid momentary action which characterized
the two statues of Myron already mentioned appears in a third,
the statue of Marsyas astonished at the flute which Athene had
thrown away, and which was to lead its finder into his fatal
contest with Apollo.  A copy of this work at the Lateran Museum
represents the satyr starting back in a rapid mingling of desire
and fear, which is stamped on his heavy face, as well as
indicated in the movement of his body.

Myron's realism again found expression in the bronze cow,
celebrated by the epigrams of contemporary poets for its striking
naturalness.  "Shepherd, pasture thy flock at a little distance,
lest thinking thou seest the cow of Myron breathe, thou shouldst
wish to lead it away with thine oxen," was one of them.

The value and originality of Myron's contributions to the
progress of Greek sculpture were so great that he left behind him
a considerable number of artists devoted to his methods.  His son
Lykios followed his father closely.  In statues on the Acropolis
representing two boys, one bearing a basin, one blowing the coals
in a censer into a flame, he reminds one of the Ladas, especially
in the second, where the action of breathing is exemplified in
every movement of the body.  Another famous work by a follower of
Myron was the boy plucking a thorn from his foot, a copy of which
is in the Rothschild collection.

     The frieze of the Temple of Apollo at Phigales has also been
attributed to the school of Myron.  The remnants of this frieze,
now in the British Museum, show the battle of the Centaurs and
Amazons.  The figures have not the calm stateliness of bearing
which characterizes those of the Parthenon frieze, but instead
exhibit a wild vehemence of action which is, perhaps, directly
due to the influence of Myron.

Another pupil of Ageladas, a somewhat younger contemporary of
Pheidias, was Polycleitos.  He excelled in representations of
human, bodily beauty.  Perfection of form was his aim, and so
nearly did he seem to the ancients to have attained this object
that his Doryphoros was taken by them as a model of the human
figure.   A copy of this statue exists in the Museum of Naples
and represents a youth in the attitude of bearing a lance, quiet
and reserved.  The figure is rather heavily built, firm,
powerful, and yet graceful, though hardly light enough to justify
the praise of perfection which has been lavished upon it.

A companion statue to the Doryphorus of Polycleitos was his
statue of the Diadumenos, or boy binding his head with a fillet.
A supposed copy of this exists in the British Museum.  It
presents the same general characteristics as the Doryphorus, a
well-modelled but thick-set figure standing in an attitude of

What Polycleitos did for the male form in these two statues he
did for the female form in his Amazon, which, according to a
doubtful story, was adjudged in competition superior to a work by
Pheidias.  A statue supposed to be a copy of this masterpiece of
Polycleitos is now in the Berlin Museum.  It represents a woman
standing in a graceful attitude beside a pillar, her left arm
thrown above her head to free her wounded breast.  The sculptor
has succeeded admirably in catching the muscular force and firm
hard flesh beneath the graceful curves of the woman warrior.

Polycleitos won his chief successes in portraying human figures.
His statues of divinities are not numerous: a Zeus at Argos, an
Aphrodite at Amyclae, and, more famous than either, the
chryselephantine Hera for a temple between Argos and Mycenae.
The goddess was represented as seated on a throne of gold, with
bare head and arms.  In her right hand was the sceptre crowned
with the cuckoo, symbol of conjugal fidelity; in her left, the
pomegranate.  There exists no certain copy of the Hera of
Polycleitos.  The head of Hera in Naples may, perhaps, give us
some idea of the type of divine beauty preferred by the sculptor
who was preeminent for his devotion to human beauty.

Polycleitos was much praised by the Romans Quintilian and Cicero,
who nevertheless, held that though he surpassed the beauty of man
in nature, yet he did not approach the beauty of the gods.  It
was reserved for Pheidias to portray the highest conceptions of
divinity of which the Greek mind was capable in his statues of
Athene in the Parthenon at Athens, and the Zeus of Olympus.

Pheidias lived in the golden age of Athenian art.  The victory of
Greece against Persia had been due in large measure to Athens,
and the results of the political success fell largely to her.  It
is true the Persians had held the ground of Athens for weeks, and
when, after the victory of Salamis, the people returned to their
city, they found it in ruins.  But the spirit of the Athenians
had been stirred, and in spite of the hostility of Persia, the
jealousy of neighboring states, and the ruin of the city, the
people felt new confidence in themselves and their divinity, and
were more than ever ready to strive for the leadership of Greece.
Religious feeling, gratitude to the gods who had preserved them,
and civic pride in the glory of their own victorious city, all
inspired the Athenians.  After the winter in which the Persians
were finally beaten at Plataea, the Athenians began to rebuild.
For a while their efforts were confined to rendering the city
habitable and defensible, since the activity of the little state
was largely political.  But when th leadership of Athens in
Greece had become firmly established under Theistocles and Cimon,
the third president of the democracy, Pericles, found leisure to
turn to the artistic development of the city.  The time was ripe,
for the artistic progress of the people had been no less marked
than their political.  The same long training in valor and
temperance which gave Athens her statesmen, Aristides and
Pericles, gave her her artists and poets also.  Pericles became
president of the city in 444 B.C., just at the time when the
decorative arts were approaching perfection under Pheidias.

Pheidias was an Athenian by birth, the son of Charmides.  He
studied first under Hegias, then under Ageladas the Argive.  He
became the most famous sculptor of his time, and when Pericles
wanted a director for his great monumental works at Athens, he
summoned Pheidias.  Artists from all over Hellas put themselves
at his disposal, and under his direction the Parthenon was built
and adorned with the most splendid statuary the world has ever

The Parthenon was fashioned in honor of Athene or Minerva, the
guardian deity of Athens, the preserver of Hellas, whom the
Athenians in their gratitude sought to make the sovereign goddess
of the land which she had saved.  The eastern gable of the temple
was adorned with a group representing the appearance of Minerva
before the gods of Olympus.  In the left angle of the gable
appeared Helios, the dawn, rising from the sea.  In the right
angle Selene, evening, sank from sight.  Next to Helios was a
figure representing either Dionysus or Olympus, and beside were
seated two figures, perhaps Persephone and Demeter, perhaps two
Horae.  Approaching these as a messenger was Iris.  Balancing
these figures on the side next Selene were two figures,
representing Aphrodite in the arms of Peitho, or perhaps
Thalassa, goddess of the sea, leaning against Gaia, the earth.
Nearer the centre on this side was Hestia, to whom Hermes brought
the tidings.  The central group is totally lost, but must have
been made up of Zeus, Athene, and Vulcan, with, perhaps, others
of the greater divinities.

The group of the western pediment represented Athene and
Poseidon, contesting for the supremacy of Athens.  Athene's
chariot is driven by Victory, Poseidon's by Amphitrite.  Although
the greater part of the attendant deities have disappeared, we
know the gods of the rivers of Athens, Eridanas and Ilissos, in
reclining postures filled the corners of the pediment.  One of
these has survived, and remains in its perfection of grace and
immortal beauty to attest the wonderful skill that directed the
chiselling of the whole group.

Although the gable groups have suffered terribly in the historic
vicissitudes of the Parthenon, still enough remains of them to
show the dignity of their conception, the rhythm of composition,
and the splendid freedom of their workmanship.  The fragments
were purchased by Lord Elgin early in this century and are now in
the British Museum.

The frieze of the Parthenon, executed under the supervision of
Pheidias, represented one of the most glorious religious
ceremonies of the Greek, the Pan-Athenaic procession.  The
deities surround Zeus as spectators of the scene, and toward them
winds the long line of virgins bearing incense, herds of animals
for sacrifice, players upon the lute and lyre, chariots and
riders.  On the western front the movement has not yet begun, and
the youths and men stand in disorder, some binding their mantles,
some mounting their horses.  The frieze is noteworthy for its
expression of physical and intellectual beauty which marked the
highest conceptions of Greek art, and for the studied mingling of
forcible action and gracious repose.  The larger part of this
frieze has been preserved and is to be seen at the British

The third group of Parthenon sculptures, the ornaments of the
metope, represents the contest between centaurs and the Lapithae
with some scenes interspersed of which the subjects cannot now be
determined.  The frieze is in low relief, the figures scarcely
starting from the background.  The sculptures of the metope, on
the contrary, are in high relief, frequently giving the
impression of marbles detached from the background altogether.
They were, moreover, colored.  Or course, Pheidias himself cannot
have had more than the share of general director in the
sculptures of the metope; many of them are manifestly executed by
inferior hands.  Nevertheless, the mind of a great designer is
evident in the wonderful variety of posture and action which the
figures show.  Indeed, when we consider the immense number of
figures employed, it becomes evident that not even all the
sculptures of the pediments can have been executed entirely by
Pheidias, who was already probably well advanced in life when he
began the Parthenon decorations; yet all the sculptures were the
work of Pheidias or of pupils working under him, and although
traces may be found of the influence of other artists,   of
Myron, for example, in the freedom and naturalness of the action
in the figures of the frieze,   yet all the decorations of the
Parthenon may fairly be said to belong to the Pheidian school of

The fame of Pheidias himself, however, rested very largely on
three great pieces of art work: The Athene Promachos, the Athene
Parthenos, and the Olympian Zeus.  The first of these was a work
of Pheidias's youth.  It represented the goddess standing gazing
toward Athens lovingly and protectingly.  She held a spear in one
hand, the other supported a buckler.  The statue was nine feet
high.  It was dignified and noble, but at the time of its
conception Pheidias had not freed himself from the convention and
traditions of the earlier school, and the stiff folds of the
tunic, the cold demeanor of the goddess, recall the masters whom
Pheidias was destined to supersede.  No copy of this statue
survives, and hence a description of it must be largely
conjectural, made up from hints gleaned from Athenian coins.

Pheidias sculptured other statues of Athene, but none so
wonderful as the Athene Parthenos, which, with the Olympian Zeus,
was the wonder and admiration of the Greek world.  The Athene
Parthenos was designed to stand as an outward symbol of the
divinity in whose protecting might the city had conquered and
grown strong, in whose honor the temple had been built in which
this statue was to shine as queen.  The Olympian Zeus was the
representative of that greater divinity which all Hellas united
in honoring.  We may gain from the words of Pausanias some idea
of the magnificence of this statue, but of its unutterable
majesty we can only form faint images in the mind, remembering
the strength and grace of the figures of the pediments of the
temple at Athens.  "Zeus," says Pausanias, "is seated on a throne
of ivory and gold; upon his head is laced a garland made in
imitation of olive leaves.  He bears a Victory in his right hand,
also crowned and made in gold and ivory, and holding in her right
hand a little fillet.  In his left hand the god holds a sceptre,
made of all kinds of metals; the bird perched on the tip of the
sceptre is an eagle.  The shoes of Zeus are also of gold, and of
gold his mantle, and underneath this mantle are figures and
lilies inlaid."

Both the Olympian Zeus and the Athene were of chryselephantine
work offering enormous technical difficulties, but in spite of
this both showed almost absolute perfection of form united with
beauty of intellectual character to represent the godhead
incarnate in human substance.  These two statues may be taken as
the noblest creations of the Greek imagination when directed to
the highest objects of its contemplation.  The beauty of the
Olympian Zeus, according to Quintilian, "added a new element to

In the works of art just mentioned the creative force of the
Greeks attained its highest success.  After the death of Pheidias
his methods were carried on in a way by the sculptors who had
worked under him and become subject to his influence; but as
years went on, with less and less to remind us of the supreme
perfection of the master.  Among these pupils of Pheidias were
Agoracritos and Colotes in Athens, Paionios, and Alcamenes.  Of
Paionios fortunately one statue survives in regard to which there
can be no doubt.  The Victory erected to the Olympian Zeus shows
a tall goddess, strongly yet gracefully carved, posed forward
with her drapery flattened closely against her body in front as
if by the wind, and streaming freely behind.  The masterpiece of
Alcamenes, an Aphrodite, is known only by descriptions.   The
pediments of the temple at Olympia have been assigned, by
tradition, one to Alcamenes, one to Paionios.  They are, however,
so thoroughly archaic in style that it seems impossible to
reconcile them with what we know of the work of the men to whom
they are attributed.   The group of the eastern front represented
the chariot races of Oinomaos and Pelops; that of the western,
the struggle of the Centaurs and Lapithae.  In the latter the
action is extremely violent, only the Apollo in the midst is calm
and commanding.  In both pediments there are decided approaches
to realism.

In Athens, after Pheidias, the greatest sculptures were those
used to adorn the Erechtheion.  The group of Caryatids, maidens
who stand erect and firm, bearing upon their heads the weight of
the porch, is justly celebrated as an architectural device.  At
the same time, the maidens, though thus performing the work of
columns, do not lose the grace and charm which naturally belongs
to them.

Another post-Pheidian work at Athens was the temple of Nike
Apteros, the wingless Victory.  The bas-reliefs from this temple,
now in the Acropolis Museum at Athens, one representing the
Victory stooping to tie her sandal, another, the Victory crowning
a trophy, recall the consummate grace of the art of Pheidias, the
greatest Greek art.

Agoracritos left behind him works at Athens which in their
perfection could scarcely be distinguished from the works of
Pheidias himself, none of which have come down to us.  But from
the time of the Peloponnesian war, the seeds of decay were in the
art of Hellas, and they ripened fast.  In one direction
Callimachus carried refined delicacy and formal perfection to
excess; and in the other Demetrios, the portrait sculptor, put by
ideal beauty for the striking characteristics of realism.  Thus
the strict reserve, the earnest simplicity of Pheidias and his
contemporaries, were sacrificed   sacrificed partly, it is true,
to the requirements of a fuller spiritual life, partly to the
demands of a wider knowledge and deeper passion.  The legitimate
effects of sculpture are strictly limited.  Sculpture is fitted
to express not temporary, accidental feeling, but permanent
character; not violent action, but repose.  In the great work of
the golden age the thought of the artist was happily limited so
that the form was adequate to its expression.  One single motive
was all that he tried to express   a motive uncomplicated by
details of specific situation, a type of general beauty unmixed
with the peculiar suggestions of special and individual emotion.
When the onward impulse led the artist to pass over the severe
limits which bounded the thought of the earlier school, he found
his medium becoming less adequate to the demands of his more
detailed and circumstantial mental conception.  The later
sculpture, therefore, lacks in some measure the repose and entire
assurance of the earlier.  The earlier sculpture confines itself
to broad, central lines of heroic and divine character, as in the
two masterpieces of Pheidias.  The latter dealt in great
elaboration with the details and elements of the stories and
characters that formed its subjects, as in the Niobe group, or
the Laocoon, to be mentioned later.

These modern tendencies produced as the greatest artists of the
later Greek type Scopas and Praxiteles.

Between these, however, and the earlier school which they
superseded came the Athenian Kephisodotos, the father, it may be
supposed of Praxiteles.  His fame rests upon a single work, a
copy of which has been discovered, the Eirene and Ploutos.  In
this, while the simplicity and strictness of the Pheidian ideal
have been largely preserved, it has been used as the vehicle of
deeper feeling and more spiritual life.

Scopas was born at Paros, and lived during the fist half of the
fourth century.  He did much decorative work including the
pediments of the temple of Athena at Tegea.  He participated also
in the decoration of the Mausoleum erected by Artemisia to the
memory of her husband.  In this latter, the battle of the
Amazons, though probably not the work of Scopas himself, shows in
the violence of its attitudes and the pathos of its action the
new elements of interest in Greek art with the introduction of
which Scopas is connected.  The fame of Scopas rests principally
on the Niobe group which is attributed to him.  The sculpture
represents the wife of Amphion at the moment when the curse of
Apollo and Diana falls upon her, and her children are slain
before her eyes.  The children, already feeling the arrows of the
gods, are flying to her for protection.  She tries in vain to
shield her youngest born beneath her mantle, and turns as if to
hide her face with its motherly pride just giving place to
despair and agony.  The whole group is free from contortion and
grandly tragic.  The original exists no longer, but copies of
parts of the group are found in the Uffizi Gallery at Florence.

The Niobe group shows the distinction between Scopas and
Praxiteles and the earlier artists in choice of subject and mode
of treatment.  The same distinction is shown by the Raging
Bacchante of Scopas.  The head is thrown back, the hair loosened,
the garments floating in the wind,   an ecstacy of wild, torrent-
like action.

Of the work of Praxiteles we know more directly than of the work
of any other Greek sculptor of the same remoteness, for one
statue has come down to us actually from the master's own hand,
and we possess good copies of several others.  His statues of
Aphrodite, of which there were at least five, are known to us by
the figures on coins and by two works in the same style, the
Aphrodite in the Glyptothek, and that of the Vatican.  The most
famous of all was the Aphrodite of Cnidos, which was ranked with
the Olympian Zeus and was called one of the wonders of te world.
King Nicomedes of Bithynia offered vainly to the people of Cnidos
the entire amount of their state debt for its possession.  Lucian
described the goddess as having a smile somewhat proud and
disdainful; yet the eyes, moist and kindly, glowed with
tenderness and passion, and the graceful lines of the shoulders,
the voluptuous curves of the thighs, are full of sensuous
feeling.  The goddess, as represented in coins, stood beside a
vase, over which her drapery is falling, while with her right
hand she shields herself modestly.  The head of Aphrodite in the
British Museum, with its pure brows, its delicate, voluptuous
lips, and sweet, soft skin, is, perhaps, the nearest approach
which we possess to the glorious beauty of the original.

Other Aphrodites, the draped statue of Cos among them, and
several statues of Eros, representing tender, effeminate youths,
illustrate further the departure which Praxiteles marks from the
restraint of Pheidias.  Another of his masculine figures is the
graceful Apollo with the Lizard.  The god, strong in his youthful
suppleness, is leaning against a tree threatening with his darts
a small lizard which is seeking to climb up.  Still another type
of masculine grace left us by Praxiteles is his statue of the
Satyr, of which a copy exists in the Capitoline Museum.  The
Satyr, in the hands of Praxiteles, lost all his ancient
uncouthness, and became a strong, graceful youth, with soft, full
form.  In the Capitoline representation the boy is leaning easily
against a tree, throwing his body into the most indolent posture,
which brings out the soft, feminine curves of hips and legs.  In
fact, so thoroughly is the feminine principle worked into the
statues of the Apollo, the Eros, and the Satyr, that this
characteristic became considered typical of Praxiteles, and when,
in 1877, was discovered the one authentic work which we possess
of this artist, the great Hermes of Olympia, critics were at a
loss to reconcile this figure with what was already known of the
sculptor's work, some holding that it must be a work of his
youth, when, through his father, Kephisodotos, he felt the force
of the Pheidian tradition, others that there must have been two
sculptors bearing the great name of Praxiteles.

The Hermes was found lacking the right arm and both legs below
the knees, but the marvellous head and torso are perfectly
preserved.  The god is without the traditional symbols of his
divinity.  He is merely a beautiful man.  He stands leaning
easily against a tree, supporting on one arm the child Dionysus,
to whom he turns his gracious head with the devotion and love of
a protector.  The face, in its expression of sweet majesty, is
distinctly a personal conception.  The low forehead, the eyes far
apart, the small, playful mouth, the round, dimpled chin, all
bear evidence to the individual quality which Praxiteles infused
into the ideal thought of the god.  The body, though at rest, is
instinct with life and activity, in spite of its grace.  In
short, the form of the god has the superb perfection, as the face
has the dignity, which was attributed to Pheidias.  Nevertheless,
the Hermes illustrates sensual loveliness of the later school.
The freedom with which the god is conceived belongs to an age
when the chains of religious belief sat lightly upon the artist.
The gds of Praxiteles are the gods of human experience, and in
his treatment of them he does not always escape the tendency of
the age of decline to put pathos and passion in the place of
eternal majesty.

The influence of Scopas and Praxiteles continued to be felt
through a number of artists who worked in sufficient harmony with
them to be properly called of their school.  To one of these
followers of Praxiteles, some say as a copy of a work of the
master himself, we must attribute the Demeter now in the British
Museum.  This is  a pathetic illustration of suffering
motherhood.  There is no exaggeration in the grief, only the calm
dignity of a sorrow which in spite of hope refuses to be

Another work of an unknown artist, probably a follower of Scopas,
is the splendid Victory of Samothrace, now in the Louvre.  The
goddess, with her great wings outspread behind her, is being
carried forward, her firm rounded limbs striking through the
draperies which flutter behind her, and fall about her in soft
folds.  Vigorous and stately, the goddess poises herself on the
prow of the ship, swaying with the impulse of conquering daring
and strength.

Another statue which belongs, so far as artistic reasoning may
carry us, to the period and school of Praxiteles, is the so-
called Venus of Milo.  The proper title to be given to this
statue is doubtful, for the drapery corresponds to that of the
Roman type of Victory, and if we could be sure that the goddess
once held the shield of conquest in her now broken arms we should
be forced to call the figure a Victory and place its date no
earlier than the second century B.C.  However this may be, the
statue is justly one of the most famous in the world.  It
represents an ideal of purity and sweetness.  There is not a
trace of coarseness or immodesty in the half-naked woman who
stands perfect in the maidenly dignity of her own conquering
fairness.  Her serious yet smiling face, her graceful form, the
delicacy of feeling in attitude and gaze, the tender moulding of
breast and limbs, make it a worthy companion of the Hermes or
Praxiteles.  It seems scarcely possible that it should not have
sprung from the inspiration of his example.

The last of the great sculptors of Greece was Lysippos of Sikyou.
He differed from Pheidias on the one hand and from Polycleitos on
the other.  Pheidias strove to make his gods all god-like;
Lysippos was content to represent them merely as exaggerated
human beings; but therein he differed also from Polycleitos, who
aimed to model the human body with the beauty only which actually
existed in it.  Lysippos felt that he must set the standard of
human perfection higher than it appears in the average of human
examples.  Hence we have from him the statues of Heracles, in
which the ideal of manly strength was carried far beyond the
range of human possibility.  A reminiscence of this conception of
Lysippos may be found in the Farnese Heracles of Glycon, now in
the Museum of Naples.  Lysippos also sculptured four statues of
Zeus, which depended for their interest largely on their heroic

Lysippos won much fame by his statues of Alexander the Great, but
he is chiefly known to us by his statue of the athlete scraping
himself with a strigil, of which an authentic copy is in the
Vatican.  The figure differs decidedly from the thick-set, rather
heavy figures of Polycleitos, being tall, and slender in spite of
its robustness.  The head is small, the torso is small at the
waist, but strong, and the whole body is splendidly active.

The changes in the models of earlier sculptors made by Lysippos
were of sufficient importance to give rise to a school which was
carried on by his sons and others, producing among many famous
works the Barberini Faun, now at the Glyptothek, Munich.  The
enormous Colossus of Rhodes was also the work of a disciple of

But from this time the downward tendency in Greek art is only too
apparent, and very rapid.  The spread of Greek influence over
Asia, and later, in consequence of the conquest of Greece by
Rome, over Europe, had the effect of widening the market for
Greek production, but of drying up the sources of what was vital
in that production.  Athens and Sikyou became mere provincial
cities, and were shorn thenceforth of all artistic significance;
and Greek art, thus deprived of the roots of its life, continued
to grow for a while with a rank luxuriance of production, but
soon became normal and conventional.  The artists who followed
Lysippos contented themselves chiefly with seeking a merely
technical perfection in reproducing the creations of the earlier
and more original age.

At Pergamon under Attalus, in the last years of the third
century, there was something of an artistic revival.  This
Attalus successfully defended his country against an overwhelming
attack of the Gauls from the north.  To celebrate this victory,
an altar was erected to Zeus on the Acropolis of Pergamon, of
which the frieze represented the contest between Zeus and the
giants.  These sculptures are now to be found in Berlin.  They
are carved in high relief; the giants with muscles strained and
distended, their bodies writhing in the contortions of effort and
suffering; the gods, no longer calm and restrained, but
themselves overcome with the ardor of battle.  Zeus stretches his
arms over the battle-field hurling destruction everywhere.
Athene turns from the field, dragging at her heels a young giant
whom she has conquered, and reaches forward to the crown of
victory.  The wild, passionate action of the whole work remove it
far from the firm, orderly work of Pheidias, and carry it almost
to the extreme of pathetic representation in sculpture shown by
the Laocoon.

The contests with the Gauls, the fear inspired by the huge forms
of the barbarians, seem to have influenced powerfully the
imaginative conceptions of the sculptors of the school of
Pergamon.  One of the most famous works which they have left is
the figure long known as the Dying Gladiator, of which a copy
exists in the Capitoline Museum.  This represents a Gaul sinking
wounded to the ground, supporting himself on his right arm.  It
is remarkable for its stern realism.  The pain and sense of
defeat comes out in every feature.  Moreover, the nationality of
the fallen warrior is clearly expressed in the deep indentation
between the heavy brow and the prominent nose, in the face,
shaven, except the upper lip, in the uncouth, fleshy body, in the
rough hands and feet.  Usually the artist preferred to hint at
the race by some peculiarities of costume.  Here nothing but
uncompromising realism of feature will satisfy the sculptor.  A
companion piece to the Wounded Gaul, though less famous, is the
group of the Villa Ludovisi, which represents a Gaul, who has
slain his wife, in the act of stabbing himself in the neck.

In addition to inspiring the sculptures at Pergamon, Attalus
dedicated to the gods of Athens a votive offering in return for
the help which they had given him.  This was placed on the
Acropolis at Athens.  It consisted of four groups, representing
the gigantomachia or giant combat, the battle of the Amazons, the
battle of Marathon, and the victory of Attalus.  Figures from
these survive, a dead Amazon at Naples and a kneeling Persian at
the Vatican being the best known.

Another state which became famous in the declining days of Greek
art was the republic of Rhodes.  The Rhodian sculptors learned
their anatomy from Lysippos, and caught their dramatic instinct
from the artists of Pergamon.  Two of the most famous sculpture
groups in the world were produced at Rhodes,   the Laocoon, now
at the Vatican, and the Farnese Bull, now at Naples.  The former
was the work of three artists, given by Pliny as Agesandros,
Athanodorus, and Polydorus.  It has been accepted as one of the
masterpieces of the world, but as we shall see, it is manifestly
a work of a time of decadence.

The Laocoon illustrates excellently the extreme results of the
pathetic tendency.  The priest Laocoon is represented at the
moment when the serpents of Apollo surround him and his two sons,
born through their father's sin, and bear them all three down to
destruction.  The younger son, fatally bitten, falls back in
death agony.  The father yields slowly, his desperation giving
way before the merciless strength of the serpents.  The elder son
shrinks away in horror though bound fast by the inevitable coils.

The Laocoon shows the pathetic tendency at its utmost.  The
technical difficulties have been overcome with astonishing
success, and though the combination of figures is impossible in
life, it is marvellously effective in art.   But the group
depends for its interest purely on the accidental horror of the
situation.  There is no hint in the sculpture of the motive of
the tragedy, no suggestion of ethical significance in the
suffering portrayed.  It does not connect itself with any
principle of life.  In this way the work became a superb piece of
display, a TOUR DE FORCE of surprising composition but with
little serious meaning.

The same judgment may be extended to the Farnese Bull, the work
of Apollonius and Tauriscos, artists from Tralles who lived at
Rhodes.  This group represents the punishment of the cruel Dirke
at the hands of the sons of Antiope.  The beautiful queen clasps
the knee of one of the sons praying for grace, while the other
boy is about to throw over her the noose which is to bind her to
the bull.  Antiope stands in the background, a mere lay figure,
and scattered about are numerous small symbolical figures.  Like
the Laocoon the Farnese Bull exhibits surprising mastery of
technical obstacles, but, like the Laocoon, it falls short of
true tragic grandeur.  In a greater degree than the Laocoon it
trenches upon the province of painting.  It is more complicated
in its subject-matter; and the appearance in the group of many
small subsidiary figures, which in a painting might have been
given their proper value, being in the marble of the same relief
and distinction as the major characters, give a somewhat absurd
effect.  The little goddess who sits in the foreground, for
instance, is smaller than the dog.  Again, there is less of the
motive shown than in the Laocoon.  The group is seized at the
moment preceding the frightful catastrophe, but that moment is as
full of agony as the succeeding ones, and in addition there is
the feeling of suspense and oppression that comes from the
unfinished tragedy.  Altogether, the group, in spite of the
marvellous technical skill shown in details, is a failure when
judged on general lines.  Its interest lies in momentary and
apparently ummotived suffering, not in any truly serious
conception of life.

With the conquest of Greece by Rome, the final stage of Greek art
begins.  But the vigor and originality had departed.  The
sculptors aimed at and attained technical correctness, academic
beauty of form, sensuous feeling, perfection of details, but they
lost all imaginative power.   A good example of the work of this
period is found in the Apollo Belvidere now in the Vatican.  This
famous statue is an early Roman copy of a Greek original.  It
represents the god advancing easily, full of vigor and grace.  It
is marvellously correct in drawing, but quite without feeling of
any kind.

Another work of this period is the sleeping Ariadne of the
Vatican.  This represents a woman reclining in a studied
sentimental attitude, her arms thrown about her head, her body
swathed in its protecting drapery.  To the same period also
belongs almost the last notable work of Greek art, the degenerate
and sensuous conception of the Venus de Medici.  In this statue
the goddess stands as if rising from the sea, her attitude
reserved, yet coquettish and self-conscious.  The form is
technically perfect, graceful, and soft in its refinement, but
compared with the earlier Aphrodites it is an unworthy successor.

Still another famous statue is the Borghese Gladiator, of Agasius
of Ephesus, now in the Louvre.  The statue is merely a bit of
display, an effort to parade technical skill and anatomical
knowledge.  The gladiator throws his weight strongly on his right
leg, and holds one arm high above his head, giving to his whole
body an effect of straining.  The figure is strong and wiry.
Agasius was distinctly an imitator, as were most of the artists
of this age, among whom must be reckoned the skilful sculptor of
the crouching Venus, also in the Louvre.  The goddess is shown as
bending down in graceful curves until her body is supported on
the right leg, which is bent double.  The form is strong and
healthy, graceful and easy in its somewhat constrained posture.

During all of this final period Greek art was very largely
influenced by the relations which existed between Greece and
Rome.  About the year 200 B.C. the Roman conquest of Greece led
to an important traffic in works of art between Rome and the
Greek cities.  For a time, indeed, statues formed a recognized
part of the booty which graced every Roman triumph.  M. Fulvius
Nobilior carried away not less than five hundred and fifteen.
After the period of conquest the importation of Greek statues
continued at Rome, and in time Greek artists also began to remove
thither, so that Rome became not only the centre for the
collection of Greek works of art, but the chief seat of their
production.  At this time the Roman religious conceptions were
identified with those of Greece, and the Greek gods received the
Latin names by which we now know them.  The influence of the
Greeks upon Rome was very marked, but the reflex influence of the
material civilization of Italy upon Greek art was altogether bad,
and thus the splendor of classical art went out in
dilletantism and weakness.

The destruction of the Roman Empire by the barbarians makes a
break in the artistic history of the world.  Not for many
centuries was there a vestige of artistic production.  Even when
in Italy and France the monks began to make crude attempts to
reach out for and represent in painting and sculpture imaginative
conceptions of things beautiful, they took their material
exclusively from Christian sources.  The tradition of classical
stories had nearly vanished from the mind of Europe.  Not until
the Renaissance restored the knowledge of classical culture to
Europe do we find artists making any use of the wealth of
imaginative material stored up in the myths of Greece.  Then,
indeed, by the discovery and circulation of the poets of
mythology, the Greek stories and conceptions of characters,
divine and human, became known once more and were used freely,
remaining until the present day one chief source of material and
subject-matter for the use of the painter and sculptor.

End of Project Gutenberg Etext of Bulfinch's Mythology, The Age of Fable